Perspective  |   October 1998
Average Speech Levels and Spectra in Various Speaking/Listening Conditions
Speech, Voice & Prosody
Perspective   |   October 1998
Average Speech Levels and Spectra in Various Speaking/Listening Conditions
American Journal of Audiology October 1998, Vol.7, 21-25. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(1998/012)
History: Accepted 17 Oct 1997 , Received 26 Aug 1997
American Journal of Audiology October 1998, Vol.7, 21-25. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(1998/012)
History: Accepted 17 Oct 1997 , Received 26 Aug 1997

The large study undertaken by Pearsons et al. (1977) for the Environmental Protection Agency nicely demonstrates "usual" speech levels in a variety of settings in classrooms, homes, hospitals, department stores, and commercial transportation. In most settings, speech levels were between 55 and 66 dBA at conversation distances in the school, home, hospital, and department store environments. S/N ratios on the order of 5 to 15 dB were maintained.

Communication distance in the trains and airplanes was considerably less than the usual 1 m, and the speech levels were higher, 73 to 77 dBA, but still at a –1 or –2 dB S/N ratio in the train and airplanes, respectively. Their measurements in an anechoic chamber further reflected the levels of conversational speech in a quiet environment, as well as the levels and spectra for different vocal efforts by females, males, and children. Speech spectra were generally similar for the groups of talkers for casual conversation through raised vocal efforts. For loud speech, and particularly for shouted speech, male speech levels were greater than the speech levels of the females and children. The maximum one-third octave bands for loud and shouted speech shifted to higher frequencies for all three groups.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire American Journal of Audiology content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access

Related Articles

Overheard: An Apraxia Pioneer Talks Speech
The ASHA Leader February 2014, Vol.19, 26-27. doi:10.1044/leader.OV.19022014.26
The Impact of Listening Condition on Background Noise Acceptance for Young Adults With Normal Hearing
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research October 2012, Vol.55, 1356-1372. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0140)
Objective Measures of Listening Effort: Effects of Background Noise and Noise Reduction
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research October 2009, Vol.52, 1230-1240. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0111)
The Effect of Fundamental Frequency on the Intelligibility of Speech With Flattened Intonation Contours
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology November 2008, Vol.17, 348-355. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/07-0048)
Contribution of High Frequencies to Speech Recognition in Quiet and Noise in Listeners With Varying Degrees of High-Frequency Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research August 2007, Vol.50, 819-834. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/057)