Faculty Advisor

Dr. John Woycheese

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Kathy Notarianni

Faculty Advisor

Robert Schifiliti


Speech intelligibility of voice alarm communication systems is extremely important for proper notification and direction of building occupants. Currently, there is no minimum standard to which all voice alarm communication systems must be held. Tests were conducted to determine how system and room characteristics, and the addition of occupants, affect the intelligibility of a voice signal. This research outlines a methodology for measuring the speech intelligibility of a room and describes the impact of numerous variables on these measurements. Eight variables were considered for this study: speaker quantity and location, speaker power tap, sound pressure level (SPL), number and location of occupants, presence of furniture, location of intelligibility measurements, data collection method, and floor covering. All room characteristics had some affect on the room intelligibility; the sound pressure level of the signal and the number and location of occupants had the greatest overall impact on the intelligibility of the room. It is recommended, based on the results of this study, that further investigation be conducted in the following areas: floor finishes, speaker directivity, various population densities, furniture packages and room sizes.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Fire Protection Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





speech intelligibility, voice alarm communication system, common intelligibility scale (CIS), speech transmission index (STI), Fire alarms, Automatic speech recognition, Voice alarm system