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The intelligibility of speech, in terms of sentence intelligibility, at low levels of noise is almost perfect, although some redundancy may already have been lost, which could result in a reduced listening comfort. In order to study this in conditions representative of normal communication, we used the intelligibility of consonants in vowel-consonant-vowel segments excerpted from conversational speech as a sensitive measure. The level of the noise while listening was systematically varied. The consonant intelligibility score, averaged over consonants (18), speakers (5), and listeners (10), was about 70% correct in a quiet condition, and started to degrade at a signal-to-noise ratio of 10 to 7 dB. Results furthermore show that when the speaker himself is also in the noise he does not just talk louder but also more intelligible. However, providing the listener with a visual image of the speaker does not improve intelligibility.