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(Color online) Speech intelligibility results from anechoic (R0) and reverberant room (R1) listening environments at −8 dB and −12 dB SNR. Results from three types of analyses are shown. (a) Mean (n = 60) transformed speech intelligibility for blocked (filled bars: “B”) and unblocked (unfilled bars: “U”) conditions in R0 (upper panel) and R1 (lower panel) listening environments as a function of SNR. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals for each mean. (b) Scatter plot of speech intelligibility during blocked and unblocked listening conditions for R0 and R1environments. Each point indicates data from one listener at a given SNR. For R1, the majority of listeners demonstrate improved intelligibility when consistent room exposure is provided (blocked condition) relative to when room varies from trial to trial (unblocked condition). (c) Mean (n = 60) transformed speech intelligibility as a function of exposure time, measured in six-sentence epochs. Data are shown for blocked (B) and unblocked (U) conditions at −8 dB and −12 dB SNRs in R0 and R1. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals for each mean.
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Block diagram illustrating the experimental design. A sequence of trials is shown for each set, where R0 denotes speech presented in anechoic listening environment and R1 denotes speech presented in a simulated reverberant listening environment (T 60 = 0.3 s). Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is indicated (in dB) for each trial. Sets 1–4 (18 trials each) were blocked by room. In the remaining unblocked sets (36 trials each), room was selected at random (equal probability) from a set of six rooms, which included R0 and R1.
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Individual PRESTO sentence lists used in different listening conditions (Room and SNR) for listener groups 1 and 2 (n = 30 for each group). B denotes blocked presentation and U denotes unblocked presentation. Presentation order within each list was randomized.
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Previous studies have demonstrated that speech understanding in reverberant rooms improves when listeners are given prior exposure to the room. Results from these room-adaptation studies are limited, however, because they were conducted with materials that are not representative of the high acoustic variability observed in speech signals during everyday communication. Here, room adaptation effects were measured using an open-set speech corpus with high lexical and indexical variability and virtual auditory space techniques to simulate binaural listening in rooms. Room adaptation effects of comparable magnitude to previous studies were observed, suggesting general importance for facilitating speech intelligibility in reverberation.
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