Intelligibility and recall of sentences spoken by adult and child talkers wearing face masks

J Acoust Soc Am. 2021 Sep;150(3):1674. doi: 10.1121/10.0006098.


With the Covid-19 pandemic, face masks have become part of our daily lives. While face masks are effective in slowing down the spread of the virus, they also make face-to-face communication more challenging. The present study sought to examine the impact of face masks on listeners' intelligibility and recall of sentences produced by one German native adult and one child talker. In the intelligibility task, German native adult listeners watched video clips of either an adult or a child talker producing sentences with and without a face mask. In a cued-recall experiment, another group of German native listeners watched the same video clips and then completed a cued-recall task. The results showed that face masks significantly affected listeners' intelligibility and recall performance, and this effect was equally true for both talkers. The findings here contribute to the fast growing and urgent research regarding the impact of face masks on communication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Masks
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Speech Perception*