NOISE CANCELLING HEADSETS FOR SPEECH COMMUNICATION

Document type: Bookchapters
Full text:
Author(s): Lars Håkansson, Sven Johansson, Mattias Dahl, Per Sjösten, Ingvar Claesson
Title: NOISE CANCELLING HEADSETS FOR SPEECH COMMUNICATION
Book: Noise Reduction in Speech Applications
Year: 2002
Pagination: 305-327
Editor: Gillian M. Davis
ISBN: 0-8493-0949-2
Publisher: CRC Press
City: Boca Raton, Florida
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Department of Telecommunications and Signal Processing (Institutionen för telekommunikation och signalbehandling)
Department of Telecommunications and Signal Processing S-372 25 Ronneby
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: lha@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Headsets for speech communication are used in a wide range of applications. The basic idea is to allow hands-free speech communication, leaving both hands available for other tasks. One typical headset application is aircraft pilot communication. The pilot must be able to communicate with personnel on the ground and at the same time use both hands to control the aircraft.
Communication headsets usually consist of a pair of headphones and a microphone attached with an adjustable boom. Headphone design varies widely between different manufacturers and models. In its simplest form, the headphone has an open construction providing little or no attenuation of the environmental noise. In headsets designed for noisy environments, the headphones are mounted in ear cups with cushions that provide some attenuation.
The microphone is primarily designed to pick up the speech signal, but if the headset is used in a noisy environment, the background noise will also be picked up and transmitted together with the speech. As a consequence, speech intelligibility at the receive end will be reduced, possibly to zero. To increase the speech-to-noise ratio, it is common to use a directional microphone that has a lower sensitivity to sound incident from other directions than the frontal direction. In addition to this, the microphone electronics are usually equipped with a gate function that completely shuts off the microphone signal if its level drops below a threshold value. The purpose of the gate is to open the channel for transmission only when a speech signal is present.
Headsets are frequently used in noisy environments where they suffer from problems of speech intelligibility. Even if an ear-cup type headset is used, the attenuation is relatively poor for low frequencies. Low frequency noise has a masking effect on speech, which significantly reduces the speech intelligibility. Several cases have been reported in which the sound level of the communication signal was increased to hazardous levels by the user to overcome this low frequency masking effect [1,2]. Ear exposure to the communication system resulted in hearing damage, such as hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis.
Subject: Signal Processing\Active Noise and Vibration Control
Signal Processing\Speech Enhancement
Signal Processing\General
Keywords: noise canceling, active noise control, headset, speech communication, feedforward, feedback, spectral subtraction
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