An examination of the effects of broadband air-conduction masker on the speech intelligibility of speech-modulated bone-conduction ultrasound.Hear Res. 2014 Nov; 317:41-9.HR
Ultrasound can be heard by bone-conduction, and speech-modulated bone-conducted ultrasound (BCU) delivers the speech information to the human ear. One of the recognition mechanisms is the demodulation of the signals. Because some of the profoundly deaf can also hear speech-modulated BCU, another mechanism may also contribution to the recognition of speech-modulated BCU. In this study, eight volunteers with normal hearing participated. The intelligibilities of speech-modulated BCU were measured using a numeral word list under masking conditions. Because the masker can mask the demodulated sounds, the evaluation of the masking reveals the contribution of the demodulation to the recognition of speech-modulated BCU. In the current results, the masking of speech-modulated BCU differed from that of original non-modulated speech. Although the masking shifted the recognition curve for the original speech upward, the same results were not observed for the speech-modulated BCU. The masking generated the difference in the correct answers among the words for the speech-modulated BCU. The current results suggested the importance of the envelope of the modulated ultrasonic signal to the recognition under masking condition. Both demodulation and direct ultrasonic stimulation contribute to the recognition of speech-modulated BCU for the normal hearing individuals, and the direct ultrasonic stimulation plays an important role in the recognition for the profoundly deaf.