What is it about?

We investigated the effects of background noise level, reverberation time, and talker foreign accent on the listening effort by native and non-native listeners while completing speech comprehension tasks. Our 2016 paper showed impacts on the speech comprehension task performance; this paper focuses on the listening effort that subjects experienced, as assessed through analyzing secondary task performance and through a survey. Results show that adverse acoustics did require more effortful listening, more so with higher noise than with higher reverberation, aligning well with results reported in the 2016 paper. In the same conditions when subject groups performed worse on speech comprehension, they also had higher listening effort.

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Why is it important?

Humans have a limited capacity for general attention and effort, and a growing number of studies have focused on how factors commonly found in everyday acoustic environments affect the degree to which speech understanding becomes more effortful. This paper adds to that knowledge base and gives guidance on appropriate acoustics condition for indoor spaces where speech communication is important (e.g. classrooms) to avoid listeners having to apply high listening efforts.


This paper was the culmination of Zhao 'Ellen' Peng's outstanding doctoral work, and deservedly received a 2020 ASHA Editor's Award in the JSLHR-Hearing Section (https://academy.pubs.asha.org/2020/08/2020-asha-journals-awards/ )!

Dr. Lily M Wang
University of Nebraska System

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Listening Effort by Native and Nonnative Listeners Due to Noise, Reverberation, and Talker Foreign Accent During English Speech Perception, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, April 2019, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2018_jslhr-h-17-0423.
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