Fundamental frequency range and other acoustic factors that might contribute to the clear-speech benefit

Heekyung J. Han, Benjamin Munson, Robert S. Schlauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The main goal of the present study was to assess the role of the fundamental frequency (F0) range on the clear-speech benefit. Conversational- and clear-speech sentences were recorded for four male speakers: the speakers' clear-speech productions had slower speaking rates, wider F0 range, more high-frequency energy, expanded vowel space, and higher vocal intensity level relative to their conversational-speech productions. To examine if F0 range contributes to the clear-speech benefit, the F0 range of clear-speech sentences was compressed to match that of the speakers' conversational-speech sentences. Fifteen listeners were presented with conversational, clear, and F0-compressed sentences in sustained speech-shaped noise. All talkers elicited substantial intelligibility benefits (keyword percent correct) from clear and F0-compressed speech when compared with conversational speech. There was no significant difference in performance between clear and F0-compressed speech. These results leave open the possibility that a clear-speech benefit could be a result of its F0 contours rather than its wide F0 range. Intelligibility predictions based on acoustic characteristics of clear speech, specifically high-frequency emphasis and pauses, accounted for either small or negligible amounts of the clear-speech benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1685-1698
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was conducted as part of a doctoral dissertation directed by R.S.S. and was supported, in part, by the Bryng Bryngelson Communication Disorders Research Fund, University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Acoustical Society of America.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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