The Lombard Effect Observed in Speech Produced by Cochlear Implant Users in Noisy Environments: A Naturalistic Study
Tobey, Emily A.
Hansen, John H. L.
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The Lombard effect is an involuntary response speakers experience in the presence of noise during voice communication. This phenomenon is known to cause changes in speech production such as an increase in intensity, pitch structure, formant characteristics, etc., for enhanced audibility in noisy environments. Although well studied for normal hearing listeners, the Lombard effect has received little, if any, attention in the field of cochlear implants (CIs). The objective of this study is to analyze speech production of CI users who are postlingually deafened adults with respect to environmental context. A total of six adult CI users were recruited to produce spontaneous speech in various realistic environments. Acoustic-phonetic analysis was then carried out to characterize their speech production in these environments. The Lombard effect was observed in the speech production of all CI users who participated in this study in adverse listening environments. The results indicate that both suprasegmental (e.g., F0, glottal spectral tilt and vocal intensity) and segmental (e.g., F1 for /i/ and /u/) features were altered in such environments. The analysis from this study suggests that modification of speech production of CI users under the Lombard effect may contribute to some degree an intelligible communication in adverse noisy environments. © 2017 Acoustical Society of America.
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