PASSENGERS are advised that the next loudspeaker announcement will be running five decibels lower.

Thanks to new research at Edinburgh University, announcements in noisy places, such as railway stations, airports and stadiums, should be quieter and clearer in the future.

Scientists working on synthetic speech systems have developed something far easier for passengers to understand than the noisy blare of a crackling loudspeaker system.

Field tests pinpointed which sounds are easiest for people in a noisy place to pick up. Spoken words were then analysed and the sounds that listeners struggled with were enhanced.

Cassia Valentini Botinhao of Edinburgh University's School of Informatics, who conducted the study, said: "Noisy environments make it difficult to understand what is being said and simply making speech louder isn't the smartest solution. Our findings could offer an alternative, by making speech more intelligible without turning up the volume."