Improving Whispered Speech Recognition Performance using Pseudo-whispered based Data Augmentation

Zhaofeng Lin, Tanvina Patel, Odette Scharenborg
Electrical Engineering and Systems Science, Audio and Speech Processing, Audio and Speech Processing (eess.AS), Sound (cs.SD)
2023-11-08 16:00:00
Whispering is a distinct form of speech known for its soft, breathy, and hushed characteristics, often used for private communication. The acoustic characteristics of whispered speech differ substantially from normally phonated speech and the scarcity of adequate training data leads to low automatic speech recognition (ASR) performance. To address the data scarcity issue, we use a signal processing-based technique that transforms the spectral characteristics of normal speech to those of pseudo-whispered speech. We augment an End-to-End ASR with pseudo-whispered speech and achieve an 18.2% relative reduction in word error rate for whispered speech compared to the baseline. Results for the individual speaker groups in the wTIMIT database show the best results for US English. Further investigation showed that the lack of glottal information in whispered speech has the largest impact on whispered speech ASR performance.
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