Masking release for low- and high-pass-filtered speech in the presence of noise and single-talker interference

J Acoust Soc Am. 2009 Jan;125(1):457-68. doi: 10.1121/1.3021299.


Speech intelligibility was measured for sentences presented in spectrally matched steady noise, single-talker interference, or speech-modulated noise. The stimuli were unfiltered or were low-pass (LP) (1200 Hz cutoff) or high-pass (HP) (1500 Hz cutoff) filtered. The cutoff frequencies were selected to produce equal performance in both LP and HP conditions in steady noise and to limit access to the temporal fine structure of resolved harmonics in the HP conditions. Masking release, or the improvement in performance between the steady noise and single-talker interference, was substantial with no filtering. Under LP and HP filtering, masking release was roughly equal but was much less than in unfiltered conditions. When the average F0 of the interferer was shifted lower than that of the target, similar increases in masking release were observed under LP and HP filtering. Similar LP and HP results were also obtained for the speech-modulated-noise masker. The findings are not consistent with the idea that pitch conveyed by the temporal fine structure of low-order harmonics plays a crucial role in masking release. Instead, any reduction in speech redundancy, or manipulation that increases the target-to-masker ratio necessary for intelligibility to beyond around 0 dB, may result in reduced masking release.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Noise*
  • Perceptual Masking*
  • Speech*