Why Louder Isn’t Always Clearer When It Comes To Speech

“Can you repeat that? I couldn’t quite hear you.” 

You’re on an important call, but the person on the other end sounds muffled and unclear. Your first instinct? Crank up the volume! That’s what we do to hear better, after all.

But contrary to popular belief, increasing the volume is often an ineffective solution for improving speech clarity during calls and video conferences. In fact, excessive loudness can actually make speech harder to comprehend. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the science behind why turning up the volume doesn’t necessarily make speech clearer.

The Problem with Loud But Not Clear

Volume has a significant impact on our ability to perceive speech accurately. At normal conversation levels (around 60dBa), our ears are more sensitive to the frequencies associated with human speech than to low or high frequencies. When you turn up the volume excessively, low frequencies become more prominent, which can actually mask and obscure the speech frequencies, making it harder to understand what’s being said.

Sound engineers refer to this phenomenon as the “upward spread of masking.” As the volume increases, low frequencies (bass) become more dominant and effectively drown out the speech frequencies. This is why simply turning up the volume may not solve the problem of unclear speech in many situations.

What Else Might Be Affecting Speech Clarity

Aside from volume levels, there are several other factors that can contribute to poor speech clarity during calls and video conferences. These include:

  • Noisy Environments – If the environment you’re in is noisy, the sound from your speakers or headphones may need to compete with background noise, making it harder to hear speech clearly.
  • Room Acoustics – Echoey or reverberant rooms can cause sound reflections and distortions, degrading speech clarity.
  • Speaker Orientation – If the speakers on your device are facing away from you or are obstructed, it can affect the clarity of the sound reaching your ears.
  • Speaker Quality – Low-quality speakers or those not optimised for speech may struggle to reproduce the nuances of human voice accurately.

The CrystalVox Solution

CrystalVox Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of high-quality audio products designed to solve the problem of “loud but not clear” speech. Our speakers and audio systems are expertly engineered to optimise speech clarity, ensuring that your conference calls and video meetings run smoothly without the need for constant repetition or miscommunication.

So don’t let poor speech clarity hamper your productivity or cause frustration during important calls and meetings. Experience crystal-clear speech and seamless communication. 

Get in touch to learn how you can get your hands on our CrystalVox range – for crystal clear speech that makes every meeting count.