Differences Among Sighted Individuals and Individuals With Visual Impairments in Word Intelligibility Presented via Synthetic and Natural SpeechBy Papadopoulos, Konstantinos; Katemidou, Evangelia; Koutsoklenis, Athanasios; Mouratidou, Eirini; Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 278-288
Publication Date: December 2010
Study examined the ability of sighted adults and adults with visual impairments to identify auditory words presented via synthetic and natural speech. Participants were 37 individuals with visual impairments and 81 sighted individuals, ranging in age from 8 to 56 years, of whom 58 were female. A female voice was used to record the natural and synthetic speech. Recordings consisted of 100 different words chosen from a list of phonemically balanced Greek words separated into 2 non-overlapping groups of approximately equal difficulty. To record the synthetic words, the DEMOSTHENES TTS (text-to-speech) platform was used in a personal computer. Participants took part in a psycho-acoustic test, during which they were asked to identify and repeat the words, 50 each presented in natural and synthetic speech. Answers were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Both groups of participants performed significantly better when identifying words presented via natural speech. Results also demonstrated that individuals with visual impairments were more successful than their sighted peers in understanding words presented via synthetic speech, with experience being the most critical factor in identifying words for the participants with visual impairments. In addition, the findings showed the correlation between intelligibility and key factors such as age and the overall use of text-to-speech systems. Study limitations and implications for future research are discussed.
Published by: International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) (Website:http://www.isaac-online.org)