The speech signal may be divided into frequency bands, each containing temporal properties of the envelope and fine structure. For maximal speech understanding, listeners must allocate their perceptual resources to the most informative acoustic properties. Understanding this perceptual weighting is essential for the design of assistive listening devices that need to preserve these important speech cues. This study measured the perceptual weighting of young normal-hearing listeners for the envelope and fine structure in each of three frequency bands for sentence materials. Perceptual weights were obtained under two listening contexts: (1) when each acoustic property was presented individually and (2) when multiple acoustic properties were available concurrently. The processing method was designed to vary the availability of each acoustic property 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 that weights were (1) equal when acoustic properties were presented individually and (2) biased toward envelope and mid-frequency information when multiple properties were available. Results suggest a complex interaction between the available acoustic properties and the listening context in determining how best to allocate perceptual resources when listening to speech in noise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics