Binaural listening effort in noise and reverberation
* Presenting author
Listening effort is defined as the effort associated with recognizing speech. Several recent studies have shown that listening effort can be a more meaningful quantity than speech intelligibility, which is classically measured as percentage of correctly understood words or speech reception thresholds. The reason is that speech intelligibility often approaches ceiling performance already in very unfavorable conditions, e.g., at negative SNRs. However, such conditions are not representative for everyday listening conditions and hence the ecological validity of measuring speech intelligibility is limited. In contrast, listening effort can be measured across a wide range of SNRs and other detrimental factors. Despite this advantage, relatively few studies have addressed listening effort in realistic listening conditions. In particular, binaural effects in listening effort have not been systematically investigated. The goal of this study is to measure listening effort in normal-hearing listeners in conditions with systematically varying binaural unmasking, involving one or more interferers and different degrees of reverberation. Listening effort is assessed by means of categorical listening effort scaling, and experimental data are compared to predictions of a binaural listening effort model derived from a binaural speech intelligibility model.