Paolo A. Mesiano1, Johannes Zaar1,2, Lars Bramsløw2, Helia Relaño-Iborra1,3, Torsten Dau1
1Hearing Systems Section, Department of Health Technology, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
2Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Denmark
3Cognitive Systems Section, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
The effects of fundamental-frequency (F0) cues on speech intelligibility in competing-talker scenarios have been investigated extensively. Most related studies have focused on the substantial intelligibility benefit induced by a difference in the average F0 between a target and an interfering voice when using non-realistic speech materials. However, recent findings suggest that the effect of an average F0 difference is rather moderate or even negligible when using more realistic speech stimuli. In contrast, it has been suggested that in everyday-life speech, the relevant F0-related cues might lie in the dynamics of the F0 trajectories and their differences between competing voices. In this respect, a contrast in F0 dynamic range between competing talkers has been shown to notably affect the intelligibility of the target speech but has not yet been investigated systematically. In this study, we explored the effect of F0-dynamic-range contrast between competing talkers in normal-hearing listeners, using Danish everyday-speech type sentences. In order to control the F0-dynamic-range contrast, we manipulated the acoustic stimuli by expanding or reducing their F0 dynamic range within the typical variability of natural speech found in the Danish language, thus maintaining the perceived naturalness of the voices. The results of this investigation are discussed and compared to previous studies with the aim to provide a better understanding of the role of F0 dynamics in competing-talker scenarios.