This work investigates the application of active noise control (ANC) to speech. ANC has had success reducing tonal noise. In this work, that success was extended to noise that is not completely tonal but has some tonal elements such as speech. Limitations such as causality were established on the active control of human speech. An optimal configuration for control actuators was developed for a sphere using a genetic algorithm. The optimal error sensor location was found from exploring the nulls associated with the magnitude of the radiated pressure with reference to the primary pressure field. Both numerically predicted and experimentally validated results for the attenuation of single frequency tones were shown. The differences between the numerically predicted results for attenuation with a sphere present in the pressure field and monopoles in the free-field are also discussed.The attenuation from ANC of both monotone and natural speech is shown and a discussion about the effect of causality on the results is given. The sentence “Joe took father’s shoe bench out” was used for both monotone and natural speech. Over this entire monotone speech sentence, the average attenuation was 8.6 dB with a peak attenuation of 10.6 dB for the syllable “Joe”. Natural speech attenuation was 1.1 dB for the sentence average with a peak attenuation on the syllable “bench” of 2.4 dB. In addition to the lower attenuation values for natural speech, the pressure level for the word “took” was increased by 2.3 dB. Also, the harmonic at 420 Hz in the word “father’s” of monotone speech was reduced globally up to 20 dB. Based on the results of the attenuation of monotone and natural speech, it was concluded that a reasonable amount of attenuation could be achieved on natural speech if its correlation could approach that of monotone speech.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





active noise control, ANC, active voice control, AVC, genetic algorithm, optimization, sound diffraction, sphere, sound reflection, control sources, error sensor placement, filtered-X algorithm, speech, speech control, speech attenuation, minimized radiated power, global attenuation