Disruption of writing by background speech: The role of speech transmission index

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Abstract

Speech transmission index (STI) is an objective measure of the acoustic properties of office environments and is used to specify norms for acceptable acoustic work conditions. Yet, the tasks used to evaluate the effects of varying STIs on work performance have often been focusing on memory (as memory of visually presented words) and reading tasks and may not give a complete view of the severity even of low STI values (i.e., when speech intelligibility is low). Against this background, we used a more typical office-work task in the present study. The participants were asked to write short essays (5 min per essay) in 5 different STI conditions (0.08; 0.23; 0.34; 0.50; and 0.71). Writing fluency dropped drastically and the number of pauses longer than 5 s increased at STI values above 0.23. This study shows that realistic work-related performance drops even at low STI values and has implications for how to evaluate acoustic conditions in school and office environments. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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Keus Van De Poll, M., Ljung, R., Odelius, J., & Sörqvist, P. (2014). Disruption of writing by background speech: The role of speech transmission index. Applied Acoustics, 81, 15–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apacoust.2014.02.005

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