Automated Pause Insertion for Improved Intelligibility Under Reverberation

Petko N. Petkov, Norbert Braunschweiler, Yannis Stylianou

Speech intelligibility in reverberant environments is reduced because of overlap-masking. Signal modification prior to presentation in such listening environments, e.g., with a public announcement system, can be employed to alleviate this problem. Time-scale modifications are particularly effective in reducing the effect of overlap-masking. A method for introducing linguistically-motivated pauses is proposed in this paper. Given the transcription of a sentence, pause strengths are predicted at word boundaries. Pause duration is obtained by combining the pause strength and the time it takes late reverberation to decay to a level where a target signal-to-late-reverberation ratio criterion is satisfied. Considering a moderate reverberation condition and both binary and continuous pause strengths, a formal listening test was performed. The results show that the proposed methodology offers a significant intelligibility improvement over unmodified speech while continuous pause strengths offer an advantage over binary pause strengths.

DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2016-960

Cite as

Petkov, P.N., Braunschweiler, N., Stylianou, Y. (2016) Automated Pause Insertion for Improved Intelligibility Under Reverberation. Proc. Interspeech 2016, 145-149.

author={Petko N. Petkov and Norbert Braunschweiler and Yannis Stylianou},
title={Automated Pause Insertion for Improved Intelligibility Under Reverberation},
booktitle={Interspeech 2016},