Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High-Frequency Sounds Cut Off by Cell Phones Might Carry More Information than Previously Thought

07.11.2011
The human voice routinely produces sounds at frequencies above 5000 hertz, but it has long been assumed that this treble range, which includes high sounds such as cricket chirps, is superfluous to the understanding of human speech.

Now researchers from the University of Arizona and the University of Utah are taking a second look at this underappreciated range. Their research reveals that people can glean a large amount of information, including the identification of familiar songs or phrases, from just the higher frequencies.

The work, which the team will present at the 162nd Acoustical Society of America Meeting in San Diego, may prompt a re-evaluation of how much spectrum is in fact necessary to carry the full meaning of the spoken word.

Although current cell phone technology only transmits frequencies between 300 and 3400 hertz, musicians have known for decades that an unbalanced or cut-off treble range can ruin the quality of vocals at concerts. Brian Monson, now a research scientist at the National Center for Voice and Speech at the University of Utah, started out his career as a sound engineer and experienced first-hand that too much treble can make singing voices sound shrill, while too little treble can make them sound dull. “People are very sensitive to a change in the treble range,” Monson says. “They can tell immediately that something is different.” From previous research, Monson also knew that singing carries more energy in the treble range than normal speech.

Curious about whether the treble range was indeed more important for singing than for speech, Monson teamed up with researchers from the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at the University of Arizona to test what sort of information lies within the treble range for both spoken and sung words. The researchers recorded both male and female voices singing and speaking the words to the U.S. national anthem, and then removed all the frequencies below 5700 hertz. When volunteers listened to the high-frequency-only recordings, they were able to identify the sex of the voice, the familiar passages from the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and whether the voice was singing or speaking the words.

“This was definitely an unexpected result,” says Monson, who notes that the traditional view of speech would not have predicted that such specific information would be carried in frequencies above 5000 hertz. The results may help explain why it can be especially difficult to understand cell phone conversations in trains or at cocktail parties. In loud environments, the low-frequency range can become cluttered with noise and the higher frequency signals that might serve as a back-up in face-to-face communication are cut off by the cell phone transmission. The scientists’ studies may also have implications for the design of hearing-aids and may help guide the quest to produce synthesized speech that sounds natural. “This started off as a scientific study of the art form of singing, but the results can tell us surprising information about human communication in general,” Monson says.

The paper 5aSCb3, “Perceptually relevant information in energy above 5 kilohertz for speech and singing,” will be presented in a poster session Friday, Nov. 4, from 8-10 a.m.

USEFUL LINKS:
Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/
Searchable index: http://asa.aip.org/asasearch.html
Hotel site: http://www.towncountry.com/index.cfm
Webcast registration and viewing: http://www.aipwebcasting.com
WORLD WIDE PRESS ROOM
In the week before the meeting, the ASA's World Wide Press Room (www.acoustics.org/press) will be updated with lay-language papers, which are 300-1200 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video.
PRESS REGISTRATION
The Acoustical Society will grant free registration to credentialed full-time journalists and professional freelance journalists working on assignment for major news outlets. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact Charles E. Blue (cblue@aip.org, 301-209-3091), who can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.
ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org

Charles E. Blue | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

Further reports about: Acoustical Society High-frequency Phones Speech cell death cell phone

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Double layer of graphene helps to control spin currents
18.10.2019 | University of Groningen

nachricht Analysis of Galileo's Jupiter entry probe reveals gaps in heat shield modeling
17.10.2019 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Energy Flow in the Nano Range

18.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

MR-compatible Ultrasound System for the Therapeutic Application of Ultrasound

18.10.2019 | Medical Engineering

Double layer of graphene helps to control spin currents

18.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>