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Acoustic effects of medical cloth and transparent face masks on speech signals

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Document pages: 5 pages

Abstract: Face masks muffle speech and make communication more difficult, especiallyfor people with hearing loss. This study examines the acoustic attenuationcaused by different face masks, including medical, cloth, and transparentmasks, using a head-shaped loudspeaker and a live human talker. The resultssuggest that all masks attenuate frequencies above 1 kHz, that attenuation isgreatest in front of the talker, and that there is substantial variationbetween mask types, especially cloth masks with different materials and weaves.Transparent masks have poor acoustic performance compared to both medical andcloth masks. Most masks have little effect on lapel microphones, suggestingthat existing sound reinforcement and assistive listening systems may beeffective for verbal communication with masks.

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