SPEECH- SYNCHRONIZED VISUAL CUES RELEASE SPEECH FROM INFORMATIONAL MASKING
Visual speech information, such as lipreading cues, assists listeners to segregate a target voice from competing voices. It is not clear whether a simple visual cue, such as the light flash that is synchronous to the onset of each syllable in target speech, is sufficient to release target speech from noise or speech masking. In this study, when target speech was of a constant rate, the speech-synchronized light flash had no unmasking effects. However, when the rate of target speech was artificially manipulated, the speech-synchronized light flash improved speech recognition when the two-talker speech masker but not the speech-spectrum noise masker was co-presented. Thus, under certain conditions, speech-synchronized visual cues can play a role in helping listeners attend to the target voice and follow the stream of target speech, leading to a release of target speech from informational masking.