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Maintaining intelligibility at high speech intensities: Evidence of lateral inhibition in the lower auditory pathway
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Three experiments examined the intelligibility enhancement produced when noise bands flank high intensity narrowband speech. Enhancement was unaffected by noise gating (experiment 1), ruling out peripheral adaptation as a source, and was also unaffected by interaural decorrelation of noise bands flanking diotic speech (experiment 2), indicating that enhancement occurs prior to binaural processing. These results support previous suggestions that intelligibility loss at high intensities is reduced by lateral inhibition in the cochlear nuclei. Results from a final experiment suggest that this effect is only ipsilateral, implicating a specific population of inhibitory neurons.
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