next up previous
Next: Introduction

A study on speech over the telephone and aging

Maxine Eskenazi and Alan W Black

Language Technologies Institute, 5000 Forbes Ave.,
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. PA. 15243 USA,

This paper was publshied at Eurospeech 2001, Aalborg, Denmark September 2001.


We describe an experiment to show how the comprehensibility of speech over the telephone is related to the age of the listener. Our intention is to show figures to prove the commonly-held belief that as we get older our hearing of information over the telephone degrades. The study was set up to determine, for all age groups from 20-29 to 80-89, whether comprehension degrades with age and with the type of speech (synthetic or natural). We gave subjects sentences containing target word pairs that they were to write down. The pairs contained more or less predictable words.

Our findings, which we consider to be preliminary due to the sample size, show degradation of comprehension with age and degradation from natural speech to synthetic speech.

Alan W Black 2002-06-18