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Speech intelligibility in different architectural environments

Prediction or measurement of speech intelligibility in architectural context is typically performed by single number quantities such as STI, C50, D50, U50, etc. These parameters can be easily calculated from so called room impulse response (RIR) which can be either measured in a real room or simulated in a 3D virtual room model. RIR (and thus also speech intelligibility) depends on a volume and shape of the room, as well as on material properties of interior surfaces and position of sound source and listener. Although the topic of speech intelligibility in architectural context is not a new field of interest, there are several aspects that have not been tackled or fully explored yet. (1) One of them is to know, what extend the mentioned acoustic quantities represent the speech intelligibility of Slavic languages, such as Slovak. Slovak language is typical with large amount od consonants and sibilants, which contain lots of information, but carry less sound energy. We can thus set a hypothesis that Slovak language might be in unfavourable conditions more difficult to understand than i.e. Dutch or English. To answer this question, it is necessary to perform a number of listening tests in different acoustic situations (various reverberation and noise conditions), using so called SRT (Speech reception threshold method). (2) For validation of STI resp. C50/U50, a number of different acoustic scenarios determined by architectural settings is necessary. Simulation method based on ray-based model, might serve as a robust method for preparation of sound stimuli. However the validity of simulation method for speech intelligibility tests has been validated only partially, namely for two extreme environments: anechoic (free field) and reverberant (diffuse field) chamber. Validation of this simulation method in different architectural settings is still lacking and will be a part of this dissertation thesis. (3) Architectural standards and guidelines that relate to room acoustics were developed long time ago, using an 18 years old person without any hearing handicap as a reference. Architectural guidelines must be therefore rethought and revised toward more inclusive architectural design.

Date:7 Oct 2021 →  Today
Keywords:architecture, acoustics, speech intelligibility, acoustic simulation, psycho acoustics, architectural design
Disciplines:Architectural design not elsewhere classified
Project type:PhD project