Speech is a hugely efficient means of communication: a reduced capacity in listening or speaking creates a significant barrier to social inclusion at all points through the lifespan, in education, work and at home. Hearing devices and speech synthesis can help address this reduced capacity but their use imposes greater listener effort. The goal of the EU-funded ENRICH project is to modify or augment speech with additional information to make it easier to process. Enrichment reduces listening burden by minimising cognitive load, while maintaining or improving intelligibility. ENRICH investigates the relationship between cognitive effort and natural and synthetic speech. Non-intrusive metrics for listening effort will be developed and used to design modification techniques which result in low-burden speech. The value of various enrichment approaches will be evaluated with individuals and cohorts with typically sub-optimal communication ability, such as children, hearing- or speech-impaired adults, non-native listeners and individuals engaged in simultaneous tasks.
- listening effort