Communicating through COVID-19 and beyond: a multi-language study of speech perception in adverse listening conditions

Grant number: COV19\200837

Grant search

Key facts

  • Disease

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    British Academy
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    University of Essex, Language and Linguistics
  • Research Category

    Secondary impacts of disease, response & control measures

  • Research Subcategory

    Other secondary impacts

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group


  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



COVID-19 has reshaped speech communication dramatically. Face-to-face communication now often includes one or both parties sporting a (face) mask: the listener's comprehension effort now involves mask-imposed distortions to the acoustic speech signal and a deprivation of visual cues. Online teleconferencing presents unique challenges: people often communicate from non-ideal physical spaces (echoes, background noise) and/or network set-ups (transmission delays). An increase in international collaboration means many people are not communicating in their native language. Using a multi-language study of speech perception in adverse listening conditions, we will investigate language-specific variation in adaptation performance to mask-distorted speech, speech embedded in noise, and comprehension in a second language. By better understanding the way individuals are adapting to the challenging listening experience, we will be able to inform communication guidance for a broad range of stakeholders to ensure information can be passed on efficiently and effectively, especially in remote settings, during COVID-19 and beyond.