12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Florence, Italy
August 27-31. 2011

Segregation of Whispered Speech Interleaved with Noise or Speech Maskers

Nandini Iyer (1), Douglas S. Brungart (2), Brian D. Simpson (1)

(1) Air Force Research Laboratory, USA
(2) Walter Reed Army Medical Center, USA

Some listening environments require listeners to segregate a whispered target talker from a background of other talkers. In this experiment, a whispered speech signal was presented continuously in the presence of a continuous masker (noise, voiced speech or whispered speech) or alternated with the masker at an 8-Hz rate. Performance was near ceiling in the alternated whisper and noise condition, suggesting that harmonic structure due to voicing is not necessary to segregate a speech signal from an interleaved random-noise masker. Indeed, when whispered speech was interleaved with voiced speech, performance decreased relative to the continuous condition when the target talker was voiced but not when it was whispered, suggesting that listeners are better at selectively attending to unvoiced intervals and ignoring voiced intervals than the converse.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Iyer, Nandini / Brungart, Douglas S. / Simpson, Brian D. (2011): "Segregation of whispered speech interleaved with noise or speech maskers", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 29-32.