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Title: Analysis of very low quality speech for mask-based enhancement
Author: Gonzalez, Sira
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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The complexity of the speech enhancement problem has motivated many different solutions. However, most techniques address situations in which the target speech is fully intelligible and the background noise energy is low in comparison with that of the speech. Thus while current enhancement algorithms can improve the perceived quality, the intelligibility of the speech is not increased significantly and may even be reduced. Recent research shows that intelligibility of very noisy speech can be improved by the use of a binary mask, in which a binary weight is applied to each time-frequency bin of the input spectrogram. There are several alternative goals for the binary mask estimator, based either on the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of each time-frequency bin or on the speech signal characteristics alone. Our approach to the binary mask estimation problem aims to preserve the important speech cues independently of the noise present by identifying time-frequency regions that contain significant speech energy. The speech power spectrum varies greatly for different types of speech sound. The energy of voiced speech sounds is concentrated in the harmonics of the fundamental frequency while that of unvoiced sounds is, in contrast, distributed across a broad range of frequencies. To identify the presence of speech energy in a noisy speech signal we have therefore developed two detection algorithms. The first is a robust algorithm that identifies voiced speech segments and estimates their fundamental frequency. The second detects the presence of sibilants and estimates their energy distribution. In addition, we have developed a robust algorithm to estimate the active level of the speech. The outputs of these algorithms are combined with other features estimated from the noisy speech to form the input to a classifier which estimates a mask that accurately reflects the time-frequency distribution of speech energy even at low SNR levels. We evaluate a mask-based speech enhancer on a range of speech and noise signals and demonstrate a consistent increase in an objective intelligibility measure with respect to noisy speech.
Supervisor: Brookes, Mike Sponsor: Imperial College London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available