Importance of envelope modulations during consonants and vowels in segmentally interrupted sentences

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The present study investigated the importance of overall segment amplitude and intrinsic segment amplitude modulation of consonants and vowels to sentence intelligibility. Sentences were processed according to three conditions that replaced consonant or vowel segments with noise matched to the long-term average speech spectrum. Segments were replaced with (1) low-level noise that distorted the overall sentence envelope, (2) segment-level noise that restored the overall syllabic amplitude modulation of the sentence, and (3) segment-modulated noise that further restored faster temporal envelope modulations during the vowel. Results from the first experiment demonstrated an incremental benefit with increasing resolution of the vowel temporal envelope. However, amplitude modulations of replaced consonant segments had a comparatively minimal effect on overall sentence intelligibility scores. A second experiment selectively noise-masked preserved vowel segments in order to equate overall performance of consonant-replaced sentences to that of the vowel-replaced sentences. Results demonstrated no significant effect of restoring consonant modulations during the interrupting noise when existing vowel cues were degraded. A third experiment demonstrated greater perceived sentence continuity with the preservation or addition of vowel envelope modulations. Overall, results support previous investigations demonstrating the importance of vowel envelope modulations to the intelligibility of interrupted sentences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1568-1576
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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