Single Band Amplitude Envelope Cues as an Aid to Speechreading

Ken W. Grant, Louis D. Braida, Rebecca J. Renn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Amplitude envelopes derived from speech have been shown to facilitate speechreading to varying degrees, depending on how the envelope signals were extracted and presented and on the amount of training given to the subjects. In this study, three parameters related to envelope extraction and presentation were examined using both easy and difficult sentence materials: (1) the bandwidth and centre frequency of the filtered speech signal used to obtain the envelope; (2) the bandwidth of the envelope signal determined by the lowpass filter cutoff frequency used to “smooth” the envelope fluctuations; and (3) the carrier signal used to convey the envelope cues. Results for normal hearing subjects following a brief visual and auditory-visual familiarization/training period showed that (1) the envelope derived from wideband speech does not provide the greatest benefit to speechreading when compared to envelopes derived from selected octave bands of speech; (2) as the bandwidth centred around the carrier frequency increased from 12.5 to 1600 Hz, auditory-visual (AV) performance obtained with difficult sentence materials improved, especially for envelopes derived from high-frequency speech energy; (3) envelope bandwidths below 25 Hz resulted in AV scores that were sometimes equal to or worse than speechreading alone; (4) for each filtering condition tested, there was at least one bandwidth and carrier condition that produced AV scores that were significantly greater than speechreading alone; (5) low-frequency carriers were better than high-frequency or wideband carriers for envelopes derived from an octave band of speech centred at 500 Hz; and (6) low-frequency carriers were worse than high-frequency or wideband carriers for envelopes derived from an octave band centred at 3150 Hz. These results suggest that amplitude envelope cues can provide a substantial benefit to speechreading for both easy and difficult sentence materials, but that frequency transposition of these signals to regions remote from their “natural” spectral locations may result in reduced performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-645
Number of pages25
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes


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