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Mariella Romero


Janine Henrickson

Speech Filter Experiment Report


The range of frequencies people can hear is between 20-20,000 Hz. Even though

the average person has the capability to hear this range of frequencies, not all of them are

necessary for the clarity of speech. The purpose of this experiment was to determine our

individual frequency cutoffs by listening to a recording of different frequencies through a

low pass filter.


A recording was used of a man reading a standardized list of monosyllabic words

in Standard American English. The audio began at 10,000 Hz and descended in

frequency incrementally from 10,000-7000 Hz, then 4000-250 Hz. The frequency was

altered through the IP filtering device. At each frequency, we wrote what we perceived

we heard.


Words Heard
Frequency (Hz) Correctly Incorrectly/Unintelligible
10,000 1 2
9000 6 0
8000 3 1
7000 3 1
4000 4 0
3000 3 1
2000 2 1
1000 0 6
500 1 3
250 0 5

From the results, I can infer that my own frequency cutoff is at 2000Hz. This

means that I need every frequency below that in order to maintain clarity, since at

2000Hz and above I heard the more than half of the words clearly. Although this may

serve as a starting point for interpreting personal frequency cutoffs, the results should not

be a definite marker because of many extraneous variables. The fact that we listened to a

recording of a recording could have affected the perceived intensity of the audio, altering

intelligibility. The results could be more accurate if the experiment was repeated with the

original audio and the actual filter, eliminating the fact that the audio or the speakers

could have affected clarity. The classroom setting was not ideal either since it is not a

controlled environment. Intelligibility could have been affected by external noise by

windows or the door, or even the fact that students were not equidistant from the sound


The fact that there are an unequal number of words at each frequency could have

affected accuracy. If each frequency included more words and had the same number of

words, it would decrease subjectivity regarding what half the words were if there was

an even spit between clear and unclear.

This experiment could be taken a step further if instead of testing at descending

frequencies, the frequencies increased. This could find the cutoff at higher frequencies

and show another range needed for speech clarity.