DOI: 10.1121/10.0020175 ISSN: 0001-4966

Differential benefits of unmasking extended high-frequency content of target or background speech

Brian B. Monson, Rohit M. Ananthanarayana, Allison Trine, Vahid Delaram, G. Christopher Stecker, Emily Buss
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Current evidence supports the contribution of extended high frequencies (EHFs; >8 kHz) to speech recognition, especially for speech-in-speech scenarios. However, it is unclear whether the benefit of EHFs is due to phonetic information in the EHF band, EHF cues to access phonetic information at lower frequencies, talker segregation cues, or some other mechanism. This study investigated the mechanisms of benefit derived from a mismatch in EHF content between target and masker talkers for speech-in-speech recognition. EHF mismatches were generated using full band (FB) speech and speech low-pass filtered at 8 kHz. Four filtering combinations with independently filtered target and masker speech were used to create two EHF-matched and two EHF-mismatched conditions for one- and two-talker maskers. Performance was best with the FB target and the low-pass masker in both one- and two-talker masker conditions, but the effect was larger for the two-talker masker. No benefit of an EHF mismatch was observed for the low-pass filtered target. A word-by-word analysis indicated higher recognition odds with increasing EHF energy level in the target word. These findings suggest that the audibility of target EHFs provides target phonetic information or target segregation and selective attention cues, but that the audibility of masker EHFs does not confer any segregation benefit.

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