Intelligibility and sound quality of radio messages in noise over tactical communications devices – Effects of hearing loss and non-fluency


  1. Giguere, C.
  2. Laroche, C.
  3. Vaillancourt, V.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN);Ottawa Univ, Ottawa Ont (CAN) Audiology Research Laboratory
Hearing loss and language proficiency are key factors which may impact oral communications between military personnel during tactical operations. To investigate such 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 in-ear tactical communication devices with integrated hearing protection at two different operational settings (talk-through ON or OFF), while immersed in an 85-dBA simulated military noise. Each participant and standard individual acted in turn as listener and talker. 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 talkthrough setting had little effect on the results. Overall, the study indicated that language fluency/proficiency and the method of sensing the talker’s voice are key issues affecting the intelligibility of tactical radio communications. These findings are critical in the context of Canadian military and m

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communication;hearing loss;speech intelligibility
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-C239 — Contract Report
Date of publication
30 Sep 2015
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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