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Mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) have more severe operating conditions than traditional wireless networks. The MAC protocol of IEEE 802.11 mitigates collisions and ensures error-free packet transmissions at the cost of limiting capacity and increasing latency. For voice transmission over MANETs this cost should be minimized. We propose and examine selective error checking (SEC) at the MAC layer of 802.11 that takes advantage of the fact that many of the speech bits can tolerate errors while other bits must be protected for effective reconstruction of the speech. Simulation results demonstrate that the network performance and the speech quality are substantially improved by modifying the MAC layer with SEC to suit a particular GSM speech compression standard, the narrow-band adaptive multirate (NB-AMR) coder operating at a rate of 7.95 kbps.