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This paper discusses the automatic quality assessment of echo-degraded speech in the context of teleconference systems. Subjective listening tests conducted over a carefully designed database of signals degraded by acoustic echo have been used to assess how this impairment is perceived and to determine which parameters have a significant impact on speech quality. The results have shown that, similarly to electric transmission line echo, acoustic echo is mainly influenced by echo delay and echo gain. Based on this observation, a mapping between these two parameters and the mean subjective score is devised. Moreover, a signal-based algorithm for the estimation of these parameters is described, and its performance is evaluated. The complete system comprising both the parameter estimators and the mapping function achieves a correlation of 94% between predicted and actual subjective scores, and can be employed as a non-intrusive monitoring tool for in-service quality evaluation of teleconference systems. Further validation indicates the operating range of the proposed quality assessment tool can be extended by proper retraining.
Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:20 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: Oct. 2012