The role of consonant-vowel amplitude ratio in the recognition of voiceless stop consonants by listeners with hearing impairment

Carol A. Sammeth, Michael Dorman, Carol J. Stearns

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Several authors have evaluated consonant-to-vowel ratio (CVR) enhancement as a means to improve speech recognition in listeners with hearing impairment, with the intention of incorporating this approach into emerging amplification technology. Unfortunately, most previous studies have enhanced CVRs by increasing consonant energy, thus possibly confounding CVR effects with consonant and bility. In this study, we held consonant audibility constant by reducing vowel transition and steady-state energy rather than increasing consonant energy. Performance-by-intensity (PI) functions were obtained for recognition of voiceless stop consonants (/p/, /t/, /k/) presented in isolation (burst and aspiration digitally separated from the vowel) and for consonant-vowel syllables, with re addition of the vowel /a/. There were three CVR conditions: normal CVR, vowel reduction by 6 dB, and vowel reduction by 12 dB. Testing was conducted in broadband noise fixed at 70 dB SPL and at 85 dB SPL. Six adults with sensorineural hearing impairment and 2 adults with normal hearing served as listeners. Results indicated that CVR enhancement did not improve identification performance when consonant audibility was held constant, except at the higher noise level for one listener with hearing impairment. The re-addition of the vowel energy to the isolated consonant did, however, produce large and significant improvements in phoneme identification.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)42-55
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Volume42
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 1999

    Keywords

    • Amplification
    • Hearing impairment
    • Signal processing
    • Speech perception
    • Speech recognition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Speech and Hearing

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