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Saturday, February 9 • 9:25am - 9:45am
Effects of Hearing Loss and Language Proficiency On Speech Intelligibility of Radio Messages Over Tactical Communication Devices

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Hearing loss and language proficiency are key factors that can impact verbal communications in tactical operations. To investigate these factors, three groups of participants (control, non-fluent, hearing-impaired) were paired with a standard individual (fluent normal hearing) of the same gender in a task of word discrimination using the Modified Rhyme Test (MRT). This was carried out over the radio channel of two tactical communication devices with integrated hearing protection, while immersed in an 85-dBA simulated military noise. Performance on the MRT was similar with the control and hearing-impaired groups. Significantly lower scores were found, however, in many situations when the non-fluent group of participants acted as listeners or talkers, compared to the two other groups. MRT scores were also consistently lower with the device configured with an in-ear voice pick-up microphone compared to the other device using an external mouth microphone, particularly for females. In contrast, the talk-through setting had little effect on the results. Overall, the study indicated that language proficiency and the method of sensing the talker voice are key issues to consider with tactical radio communications. These findings are critical in the context of multi-country deployments.


Christian Giguere

Professor, University of Ottawa
Christian Giguere is a Professor in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Ottawa. His research interests include speech communication and warning sound perception, hearing protection, and auditory fitness for duty. He has authored over 125 journal articles... Read More →

Chantal Laroche

Full Professor, University of Ottawa


Saturday February 9, 2019 9:25am - 9:45am PST
Appaloosa 3