Effect of masks on speech intelligibility in auralized classrooms

Pasquale Bottalico, Silvia Murgia, Giuseppina Emma Puglisi, Arianna Astolfi, Karen Iler Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored the effects of wearing face masks on classroom communication. The effects of three different types of face masks (fabric, surgical, and N95 masks) on speech intelligibility (SI) presented to college students in auralized classrooms were evaluated. To simulate realistic classroom conditions, speech stimuli were presented in the presence of speech-shaped noise with a signal-to-noise ratio of +3 dB under two different reverberation times (0.4 s and 3.1 s). The use of fabric masks yielded a significantly greater reduction in SI compared to the other masks. Therefore, surgical masks or N95 masks are recommended in teaching environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2878-2884
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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