Effects of noise, reverberation and foreign accent on native and non-native listeners’ performance of English speech comprehension

PengWang_JASA-SpeechComprehension 1The May 2016 issue of Journal of the Acoustical Society of America includes a paper by alum Dr. Z. Ellen Peng and Dr. Lily Wang on “Effects of noise, reverberation and foreign accent on native and non-native listeners’ performance of English speech comprehension”! The article presents results from Ellen’s PhD work at the University of Nebraska, indicating that while higher BNLs are generally more detrimental to adult listeners with lower English proficiency, all listeners experience significant comprehension deficits above RC-40 (~48 dBA) with native English talkers. This limit is lower (i.e., above RC-30, or ~38 dBA), however, with non-native talkers. For reverberation, non-native listeners as a group perform best with reverberation times up to 0.6 s, while native listeners perform equally well up to 1.2 s. A matched foreign accent benefit has also been identified, where the negative impact of higher reverberation does not exist for non-native listeners who share the talker’s native language.

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David Manley (MAE’08) named to 2016 CSE 40 Under 40 List

Congratulations to our Nebraska Acoustics Group alum, David Manley, who has been named a 2016 Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40 winners!  David is a senior consultant with D.L. Adams Associates in Denver.

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Congratulations to May 2016 Graduates!

Our May 2016 graduates (from left, Madeline Davidson, Dr. Joonhee Lee, Dr. Lily Wang, and Dr. Matthew Blevins)

Our May 2016 graduates (from left, Madeline Davidson, Dr. Joonhee Lee, Dr. Lily Wang, and Dr. Matthew Blevins)

Four NAG members participated in the University of Nebraska May 2016 Commencement ceremonies: Dr. Matt Blevins, Dr. Joonhee Lee, Madeline Davidson (MS) and Kristin Hanna (MAE). Congratulations to our graduates!  You can congratulate some of these folks in person at the upcoming ASA meeting in Salt Lake City … hope to see you there!

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NAG End-of-the-Year Party 2016

DefyGravityAction2016-05-04 18.03.25The Nebraska Acoustics Group celebrated the end of another great academic year on Wednesday, May 4, at Defy Gravity in Omaha.  The event featured much jumping, some dodgeball, volleyball, and even a laser maze challenge!

We’re looking forward to the upcoming ASA meeting in Salt Lake City – you are all invited for NAG Board Game Night scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, starting at 9 PM in the Alta Room at the Salt Lake City conference hotel!  New games that we’ll be trying include Codenames, Camel Up, and One Night Ultimate Vampire.  Refreshments and crepes will be served!

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Boyd receives 2016-17 UNL Milton Mohr Scholarship

Congratulations to Brenna Boyd who has been selected to receive a 2016-17 UNL Milton E. Mohr Scholarship in the College of Engineering!  Brenna is entering the 4th year of the accredited BS/MAE degree program.

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Matthew Blevins, Ph.D.

A dinner at Dante's Pizzeria in honor of Matt Blevins (2nd from right)

A dinner at Dante’s Pizzeria in honor of Dr. Matt Blevins (2nd from right)

Congratulations to Matt Blevins, who successfully defended his Ph.D. Dissertation “Design and Optimization of Membrane-Type Acoustic Metamaterials” on April 15, 2016, advised by Dr. Lily Wang and earlier by Dr. Siu-Kit Lau!  After graduation, Matt will be joining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, IL.

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Electroacoustics class tours Westside Church

2016-04-14 10.50.29

Discussing electroacoustics with Tim Burkhart and Drue Humphrey

On Thursday, April 14, this year’s Electroacoustics class visited Westside Church in Omaha, Nebraska, to tour the renovated electroacoustic reinforcement system, hosted by Midwest Sound and Lighting‘s Tim Burkhart.  The students appreciated seeing and hearing the line arrays, huge subwoofers, distributed system serving the under-balcony and balcony areas, and many components.  Many thanks to Tim and Drue Humphrey, the AV Tech at Westside Church!

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NAG Meetings 3-16-16 and 4-13-16

At the March NAG meeting, 360-degree video technology was pervasive as we previewed the new 360 recruitment video for our Architectural Engineering program, and ooohed and aaahed at the Google Cultural Institute’s initiative to put us all onstage.  The four Nebraska students participating in this year’s ASA Student Design Competition presented on their projects to date; we are grateful to a number of consultants who have volunteered their time to review the students’ progress throughout the semester, including Dana Hougland (Shen Milson Wilke), Scott Pfeiffer (Threshold Acoustics) and Dennis Paoletti (Paoletti Consulting).  At the April NAG meeting, we reviewed two ‘acoustic nuggets’: a metamaterial-built wall and a necklace device that ‘hears’ your eating!  Ah, modern innovation… We’re looking forward to the end of the school year and are planning to celebrate at Defy Gravity: indoor trampoline park!

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Madeline Davidson, M.S.

A dinner at Salt 88 in Omaha in honor of Madeline Davidson (3rd from left)

A dinner at Salt 88 in Omaha in honor of Madeline Davidson (3rd from left)

Congratulations to Madeline Davidson, who successfully defended her M.S. Thesis “Quantification of Time Varying Directivity of Musical Instruments” on April 4, 2016, advised by Dr. Lily Wang!  Madeline has accepted a position with the acoustics group within HDR based in Minneapolis, and will coincidentally be working with our alum Adam Buck (MAE ’13) who also worked on this research topic when he was a student at Nebraska.

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Take a 360 Virtual Tour of UNL Architectural Engineering!

2016-03-19 16.19.41The UNL Office of Graduate Studies has released a 360 video that takes prospective graduate students on a virtual tour of the UNL Architectural Engineering Program!  Get an inside look at the Nebraska Acoustics Group Lab (PKI Room 210) and Acoustics Testing Chamber (PKI Room 131).  To experience the 360 video fully, access it through the YouTube app on your mobile device, or on Firefox or Chrome web browsers.  We are also particularly pleased with the recent UNL Graduate Studies slogan: Come Make Waves Where There Is No Ocean!  If you are interested in studying with our acoustics group, please contact Dr. Lily Wang or Dr. Erica Ryherd.

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