The aim of this work was to measure subjective speech intelligibility in an enclosure with a long reverberation time and comparison of these results with objective parameters. Impulse Responses (IRs) were first determined with a dummy head in different measurement points of the enclosure. The following objective parameters were calculated with Dirac 4.1 software: Reverberation Time (RT), Early Decay Time (EDT), weighted Clarity (C50) and Speech Transmission Index (STI). For the chosen measurement points, a convolution of the IRs with the Polish Sentence Test (PST) and logatome tests was made. PST was presented at a background of a babble noise and speech reception threshold - SRT (i.e. SNR yielding 50% speech intelligibility) for those points were evaluated. A relationship of the sentence and logatome recognition vs. STI was determined. It was found that the final SRT data are well correlated with speech transmission index (STI), and can be expressed by a psychometric function. The difference between SRT determined in condition without reverberation and in reverberation conditions appeared to be a good measure of the effect of reverberation on speech intelligibility in a room. In addition, speech intelligibility, with and without use of the sound amplification system installed in the enclosure, was compared.
This study examined whether differences in reverberation time (RT) between typical sound field test rooms used in audiology clinics have an effect on speech recognition in multi-talker environments. Separate groups of participants listened to target speech sentences presented simultaneously with 0-to-3 competing sentences through four spatially-separated loudspeakers in two sound field test rooms having RT = 0:6 sec (Site 1: N = 16) and RT = 0:4 sec (Site 2: N = 12). Speech recognition scores (SRSs) for the Synchronized Sentence Set (S3) test and subjective estimates of perceived task difficulty were recorded. Obtained results indicate that the change in room RT from 0.4 to 0.6 sec did not significantly influence SRSs in quiet or in the presence of one competing sentence. However, this small change in RT affected SRSs when 2 and 3 competing sentences were present, resulting in mean SRSs that were about 8-10% better in the room with RT = 0:4 sec. Perceived task difficulty ratings increased as the complexity of the task increased, with average ratings similar across test sites for each level of sentence competition. These results suggest that site-specific normative data must be collected for sound field rooms if clinicians would like to use two or more directional speech maskers during routine sound field testing.