Volume 129, Issue 1, January 2011
Index of content:
- PSYCHOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
Characterizing auditory processing and perception in individual listeners with sensorineural hearing loss129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3518768View Description Hide Description
This study considered consequences of sensorineural hearing loss in ten listeners. The characterization of individual hearing loss was based on psychoacoustic data addressing audiometric pure-tone sensitivity, cochlear compression, frequency selectivity, temporal resolution, and intensity discrimination. In the experiments it was found that listeners with comparable audiograms can show very different results in the supra-threshold measures. In an attempt to account for the observed individual data, a model of auditory signal processing and perception [Jepsen et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 124, 422–438 (2008)] was used as a framework. The parameters of the cochlear processing stage of the model were adjusted to account for behaviorally estimated individual basilar-membrane input-output functions and the audiogram, from which the amounts of inner hair-cell and outer hair-cell losses were estimated as a function of frequency. All other model parameters were left unchanged. The predictions showed a reasonably good agreement with the measured individual data in the frequency selectivity and forward masking conditions while the variation of intensity discrimination thresholds across listeners was underestimated by the model. The model and the associated parameters for individual hearing-impaired listeners might be useful for investigating effects of individual hearing impairment in more complex conditions, such as speech intelligibility in noise.
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3518718View Description Hide Description
The fused low pitch evoked by complex tones containing only unresolved high-frequency components demonstrates the ability of the human auditory system to extract pitch using a temporal mechanism in the absence of spectral cues. However, the temporal features used by such a mechanism have been a matter of debate. For stimuli with components lying exclusively in high-frequency spectral regions, the slowly varying temporal envelope of sounds is often assumed to be the only information contained in auditory temporal representations, and it has remained controversial to what extent the fast amplitude fluctuations, or temporal fine structure (TFS), of the conveyed signal can be processed. Using a pitch matching paradigm, the present study found that the low pitch of inharmonic transposed tones with unresolved components was consistent with the timing between the most prominent TFS maxima in their waveforms, rather than envelope maxima. Moreover, envelope cues did not take over as the absolute frequency or rank of the lowest component was raised and TFS cues thus became less effective. Instead, the low pitch became less salient. This suggests that complex pitch perception does not rely on envelope coding as such, and that TFS representation might persist at higher frequencies than previously thought.
Temporal weighting functions for interaural time and level differences. II. The effect of binaurally synchronous temporal jitter129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3514422View Description Hide Description
Recent work has demonstrated that sensitivity to interaural time differences(ITD) carried by high-rate cochlear implant pulse trains or analogous acoustic signals can be enhanced by imposing random temporal variation on the stimulus rate [see Goupell et al. (2009). J. Acoust. Soc. Am.126, 2511–2521]. The present study characterized the effect of such “temporal jitter” on normal-hearing listeners’ weighting of ITD and interaural level differences (ILD) applied to brief trains of Gabor clicks (4 kHz center frequency) presented at nominal interclick intervals (ICI) of 1.25 and 2.5 ms. Lateral discrimination judgments were evaluated on the basis of the ITD or ILD carried by individual clicks in each train. Random perturbation of the ICI significantly reduced listeners’ weighting of onset cues for both ITD and ILD discrimination compared to corresponding isochronous conditions, consistent with enhanced sensitivity to post-onset binaural cues in jittered stimuli, although the reduction of onset weighting was not statistically significant at 1.25 ms ICI. An additional analysis suggested greater weighting of ITD or ILD presented following lengthened versus shortened ICI, although weights for such “gaps” and “squeezes” were comparable to other post-onset weights. Results are discussed in terms of binaural information available in jittered versus isochronous stimuli.
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3514518View Description Hide Description
To gain information from complex auditory scenes, it is necessary to determine which of the many loudness, pitch, and timbre changes originate from a single source. Grouping sound into sources based on spatial information is complicated by reverberant energy bouncing off multiple surfaces and reaching the ears from directions other than the source’s location. The ability to localize sounds despite these echoes has been explored with the precedence effect: Identical sounds presented from two locations with a short stimulus onset asynchrony (e.g., 1–5 ms) are perceived as a single source with a location dominated by the lead sound. Importantly, echo thresholds, the shortest onset asynchrony at which a listener reports hearing the lag sound as a separate source about half of the time, can be manipulated by presenting sound pairs in contexts. Event-related brain potentials elicited by physically identical sounds in contexts that resulted in listeners reporting either one or two sources were compared. Sound pairs perceived as two sources elicited a larger anterior negativity 100–250 ms after onset, previously termed the object-related negativity, and a larger posterior positivity 250–500 ms. These results indicate that the models of room acoustics listeners form based on recent experience with the spatiotemporal properties of sound modulate perceptual as well as later higher-level processing.