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John S Bradley and Hiroshi Sato (2008)

The intelligibility of speech in elementary school classrooms

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123(4):2078-2086.

This is the second of two papers describing the results of acoustical measurements and speech intelligibility tests in elementary school classrooms. The intelligibility tests were performed in 41 classrooms in 12 different schools evenly divided among grades 1, 3, and 6 students (nominally 6, 8, and 11 year olds). Speech intelligibility tests were carried out on classes of students seated at their own desks in their regular classrooms. Mean intelligibility scores were significantly related to signal-to-noise ratios and to the grade of the students. While the results are different than those from some previous laboratory studies that included less realistic conditions, they agree with previous in-classroom experiments. The results indicate that +15 dB signal-to-noise ratio is not adequate for the youngest children. By combining the speech intelligibility test results with measurements of speech and noise levels during actual teaching situations, estimates of the fraction of students experiencing near-ideal acoustical conditions were made. The results are used as a basis for estimating ideal acoustical criteria for elementary school classrooms.


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