The benefit of supplementary text for the resolution of auditory overload


  1. Abel, S.M.
  2. Ho, G.
  3. Burrell, C.N.
  4. Smith, I.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
This research determined whether the provision of supplementary text would help resolve the problem of auditory overload during military command and control operations. Listeners, twenty-four English-fluent, normal-hearing, males and females, were presented one block of 78 triads of simultaneous messages over a communication headset, under each of twelve listening conditions. The messages were recordings made by two males (left and right ears, respectively) and a female. Listening conditions were defined by combinations of the background (quiet or vehicle noise), ear assignment of the female talker (right or left ear), and the provision of supplementary text (none, random but equally likely across the three talkers or associated with one of the three talkers). Using a computer keypad, listeners encoded only those messages which began with a pre-assigned call sign. These occurred once during 27 of the 78 triads, nine from each of the three talkers. The overall mean percentage of correct responses was 78%. Male and female listeners performed similarly and were equally intelligible as talkers. There was a significant right ear advantage for discriminating among talkers. Provision of text resulted in an increase in the percentage correct of 10–26% that did not compromise understanding of unaccompanied target messages.

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speech understanding;competing messages;noise
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-R066 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 May 2015
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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