Talker intelligibility and listening effort: The role of speaking rate
* Presenting author
Listening to speech in noise induces increased cognitive effort and fatigue (Pichora-Fuller et al., 2016). Effort is mediated by characteristics of the listener such as nativeness or hearing status. Moreover, the issues with noise can be exacerbated by talker differences (Hazan & Markham, 2004). Nevertheless, past research has so far not accounted for cognitive effort. Based on an anechoically recorded corpus of sixteen Southern British English speakers, we conducted listening experiments in combination with pupillometry. We presented temporally or spectrally distorted speech (using time-compression and noise-vocoding, respectively). Furthermore, undistorted speech was presented in quiet and with speech-shaped masking noise. Intelligibility scores were obtained based on keywords recognised correctly. Listening effort was measured by tracking pupil size over time. Our results are in line with previous studies measuring talker intelligibility in noise. Pupil dilation was increased for both, distorted and masked speech. Pupil dilation was also increased for less intelligible talkers, indicating increased listening effort. Further studies are necessary to disentangle talker intelligibility and listening effort. The current results are interpreted in the context of models of listening effort such as the Framework for Understanding Effortful Listening (FUEL; Pichora-Fuller et al., 2016).