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J Acoust Soc Am. 2011 Jul;130(1):489-500. doi: 10.1121/1.3592220.

Perceptual weighting of the envelope and fine structure across frequency bands for sentence intelligibility: effect of interruption at the syllabic-rate and periodic-rate of speech.

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Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


Listeners often only have fragments of speech available to understand the intended message due to competing background noise. In order to maximize successful speech recognition, listeners must allocate their perceptual resources to the most informative acoustic properties. The speech signal contains temporally-varying acoustics in the envelope and fine structure that are present across the frequency spectrum. Understanding how listeners perceptually weigh these acoustic properties in different frequency regions during interrupted speech is essential for the design of assistive listening devices. This study measured the perceptual weighting of young normal-hearing listeners for the envelope and fine structure in each of three frequency bands for interrupted sentence materials. Perceptual weights were obtained during interruption at the syllabic rate (i.e., 4 Hz) and the periodic rate (i.e., 128 Hz) of speech. Potential interruption interactions with fundamental frequency information were investigated by shifting the natural pitch contour higher relative to the interruption rate. The availability of each acoustic property was varied independently by adding noise at different levels. Perceptual weights were determined by correlating a listener's performance with the availability of each acoustic property on a trial-by-trial basis. Results demonstrated similar relative weights across the interruption conditions, with emphasis on the envelope in high-frequencies.

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