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Interactions Among Reverberation, WDRC, and WM (Reinhart & Souza, 2016)

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journal contribution
posted on 23.02.2022, 18:26 by Paul N. Reinhart, Pamela E. Souza
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of varying wide dynamic range compression (WDRC) release time on intelligibility and clarity of reverberant speech. The study also considered the role of individual working memory.
Method: Thirty older listeners with mild to moderately-severe sloping sensorineural hearing loss participated. Individuals were divided into high and low working memory groups on the basis of the results of a reading span test. Participants listened binaurally to sentence stimuli simulated at a range of reverberation conditions and WDRC release times using a high compression ratio. Outcome measures included objective intelligibility and subjective clarity ratings.
Results: Speech intelligibility and clarity ratings both decreased as a function of reverberation. The low working memory group demonstrated a greater decrease in intelligibility with increasing amounts of reverberation than the high working memory group. Both groups, regardless of working memory, had higher speech intelligibility and clarity ratings with longer WDRC release times. WDRC release time had a larger effect on speech intelligibility under more reverberant conditions.
Conclusions: Reverberation significantly affects speech intelligibility, particularly for individuals with lower working memory. In addition, longer release times in hearing aids may improve listener speech intelligibility and clarity in reverberant environments.


Work is supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 DC0060014 and R01 DC012289 and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation.