The intelligibility of speech with "holes" in the spectrum

Kalyan Kasturi, Philipos C. Loizou, Michael Dorman, Tony Spahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The intelligibility of speech having either a single "hole" in various bands or having two "holes" in disjoint or adjacent bands in the spectrum was assessed with normal-hearing listeners. In experiment 1, the effect of spectral "holes" on vowel and consonant recognition was evaluated using speech processed through six frequency bands, and synthesized as a sum of sine waves. Results showed a modest decrease in vowel and consonant recognition performance when a single hole was introduced in the low- and high-frequency regions of the spectrum, respectively. When two spectral holes were introduced, vowel recognition was sensitive to the location of the holes, while consonant recognition remained constant around 70% correct, even when the middle- and high-frequency speech information was missing. The data from experiment 1 were used in experiment 2 to derive frequency-importance functions based on a least-squares approach. The shapes of the frequency-importance functions were found to be different for consonants and vowels in agreement with the notion that different cues are used by listeners to identify consonants and vowels. For vowels, there was unequal weighting across the various channels, while for consonants the frequency-importance function was relatively flat, suggesting that all bands contributed equally to consonant identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1102-1111
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3 I
StatePublished - Sep 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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