Synthetic speech system puts a dampener on noisy announcements

Sep 09, 2013

Public announcements in noisy places – such as railway stations, airports, or sports venues – could become quieter and clearer in future, thanks to new research.

Scientists have developed software that can alter speech before it is broadcast over speakers, making it more audible amid .

In a bid to improve current synthetic , researchers studied how speech was perceived by listeners. They carried out tests to pinpoint the components of speech that are most easily heard by people in a noisy place.

Experts at the University of Edinburgh, who carried out the study, say that in loud situations, listeners pay most attention the parts of speech that are easiest to hear, and use those to decipher what is being said.

Researchers developed a mathematical to analyse and enhance the sounds that help listeners hear what is being said, to make speech better understood overall.

In tests, the manipulated speech was found to be much easier to understand than natural speech. In some cases, the improvement was the equivalent of lowering noise by five decibels. Scientists say that the techniques used in this study could also be used to improve smartphone voices, loudspeaker announcements or sat-nav systems.

Dr Cassia Valentini Botinhao of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, who conducted the study, said: "Noisy environments make it difficult to understand what is being said and simply making speech louder isn't the smartest solution. Our findings could offer an alternative, by making speech more intelligible without turning up the volume."

Explore further: The new Candy Crush? Chinese language apps make learning a game

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Inner speech speaks volumes about the brain

Jul 16, 2013

Whether you're reading the paper or thinking through your schedule for the day, chances are that you're hearing yourself speak even if you're not saying words out loud. This internal speech—the monologue you "hear" inside ...

Recommended for you

New app first to use gesture for language learning

Jan 29, 2015

While you might think a person shaking her phone or tablet from side to side is having issues with the device, she might actually be playing a game that has her mimicking a steering wheel motion as part of ...

Linux distrib vendors make patches available for GHOST

Jan 29, 2015

Qualys said on Tuesday that there was a serious weakness in the Linux glibc library. During a code audit, Qualys researchers discovered a buffer overflow in the __nss_hostname_digits_dots() function of glibc. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.