Turn and ear to hear

Works in real life environments

All very well in a sound-treated lab, but would it work in real life? It does.

How data were collected:

We made extensive acoustic measurements in a real restaurant, Mezza Luna, in Cardiff.

These measurements were used to make very realistic headphone simulations of the restaurant with nine customers at other tables talking at once (five female and four male). In some conditions, the other customers were replaced with noises (like radio static).

Listening through the headphones, it sounds exactly as though one is in the restaurant, sitting at one of six chosen tables, with occasional test sentences coming from a male voice across the table.

Listeners were tested at each table for each of three head orientations: facing the target talker (Front), with a 30-degree head turn to the Left, or with a 30-degree head turn to the Right. We measured speech reception thresholds, the lowest speech level at which 50% of the target sentences could be understood. Our data showed that a significant head-orientation benefit still occurred with this high level of realism.