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.
The article presents results of our own research regarding acoustic properties of 110 classrooms in five typical primary schools in Warsaw. The target of the research was to assess the classrooms using established criteria. These criteria include the reverberation time and the speech transmission index. The research has shown a large diversity of acoustic properties of classrooms within each of the schools and between the schools, resulting from the classroom equipment and the school building construction. In addition, the assessment has indicated that classrooms in schools researched do not meet the established acoustic criteria (reverberation time and speech transmission index). Because the classroom equipment is different for younger forms (integrated teaching) and for older forms (subject teaching), the results have been analyzed separately for rooms for younger forms (0-III) and for rooms for older forms (IV-VI). Synthetic results prove the advisability of such division. Correlation analysis has been conducted for the speech transmission index STI and reverberation time Tmf, as well as for the speech transmission index STI and the suggested reverberation time Twf defined in a similar manner as Tmf, but in a wider frequency range. The correlation between the speech transmission index STI and Twf is higher than that between the STI index and Tmf. The reverberation time Twf can therefore be used for a more precise assessment of acoustic properties of interiors with regard to verbal communication than Tmf. In addition, the paper presents estimated analysis results of the influence of selected classroom equipment (carpets) on its acoustic properties.
The Chinese word identification and sentence intelligibility are evaluated by grades 3 and 5 students in the classrooms with different reverberation times (RTs) from three primary school under different signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). The relationships between subjective word identification and sentence in- telligibility scores and speech transmission index (STI) are analyzed. The results show that both Chinese word identification and sentence intelligibility scores for grades 3 and 5 students in the classroom in- creased with the increase of SNR (and STI), increased with the increase of the age of students, and decreased with the increase of RT. To achieve a 99% sentence intelligibility score, the STIs required for grades 3, grade 5 students, and adults are 0.71, 0.61, and 0.51, respectively. The required objective acoustical index determined by a certain threshold of the word identification test might be underestimated for younger children (grade 3 students) in classroom but overestimated for adults. A method based on the sentence test is more useful for speech intelligibility evaluation in classrooms than that based on the word test for different age groups. Younger children need more favorable classroom acoustical environment with a higher STI than older children and adults to achieve the optimum speech communication in the classroom.