Speech Intelligibility in Noise Using Throat and Acoustic Microphones
Authors: Acker-Mills, Barbara E.; Houtsma, Adrianus J. M.; Ahroon, William A.
Source: Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Volume 77, Number 1, January 2006 , pp. 26-31(6)
Publisher: Aerospace Medical Association
Abstract:Acker-Mills BE, Houtsma AJM, Ahroon WA. Speech intelligibility in noise using throat and acoustic microphones. Aviat Space Environ Med 2006; 77:26–31.
Introduction: Helicopter cockpits are very noisy and this noise must be reduced for effective communication. The standard U.S. Army aviation helmet is equipped with a noise-canceling acoustic microphone, but some ambient noise still is transmitted. Throat microphones are not sensitive to air molecule vibrations and thus, transmittal of ambient noise is reduced. It is possible that throat microphones could enhance speech communication in helicopters, but speech intelligibility with the devices must first be assessed. In the current study, speech intelligibility of signals generated by an acoustic microphone, a throat microphone, and by the combined output of the two microphones was assessed using the Modified Rhyme Test (MRT). Methods: Stimulus words were recorded in a reverberant chamber with ambient broadband noise intensity at 90 and 106 dBA. Listeners completed the MRT task in the same settings, thus simulating the typical environment of a rotary-wing aircraft. Results: Results show that speech intelligibility is significantly worse for the throat microphone (average percent correct = 55.97) than for the acoustic microphone (average percent correct = 69.70), particularly for the higher noise level. In addition, no benefit is gained by simultaneously using both microphones. A follow-up experiment evaluated different consonants using the Diagnostic Rhyme Test and replicated the MRT results. Discussion: The current results show that intelligibility using throat microphones is poorer than with the use of boom microphones in noisy and in quiet environments. Therefore, throat microphones are not recommended for use in any situation where fast and accurate speech intelligibility is essential.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-01-01
- The peer-reviewed monthly journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine (ASEM) provides contact with physicians, life scientists, bioengineers, and medical specialists working in both basic medical research and in its clinical applications. It is the most used and cited journal in its field. ASEM is distributed to more than 80 nations.
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