Multichannel compression: Effects of reduced spectral contrast on vowel identification

Stephanie Bor*, Pamela Souza, Richard Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: To clarify if large numbers of wide dynamic range compression channels provide advantages for vowel identification and to measure its acoustic effects. Methods: Eight vowels produced by 12 talkers in the /hVd/ context were compressed using 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 channels. Formant contrast indices (mean formant peak minus mean formant trough; maximum formant peak minus minimum formant trough) were developed to quantify spectral changes. Twenty listeners with mild to moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss identified the compressed vowels in an 8-alternative forced-choice procedure. Results: Formant contrast measures revealed significant spectral flattening for 6 of the 8 vowels as channel number increased. A significant decrease in vowel identification performance was also observed as spectral contrast decreased. Conclusions: Increasing the number of wide dynamic range compression channels may not be beneficial for all speech signals, and individual vowel identification performance can vary greatly for listeners with similar hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1327
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008


  • Multichannel hearing aids
  • Vowel perception
  • WDRC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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