Index of content:
Volume 134, Issue 3, September 2013
- PSYCHOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4816410View Description Hide Description
Dynamic range compression is widely used to reduce the difference between the most and least intense portions of a signal. Such compression distorts the shape of the amplitude envelope of a signal, but it is unclear to what extent such distortions are actually perceivable by listeners. Here, the ability to distinguish between compressed and uncompressed versions of a noise vocoded sentence was initially measured in listeners with normal hearing while varying the threshold, ratio, attack, and release parameters. This narrow condition was selected in order to characterize perception under the most favorable listening conditions. The average behavioral sensitivity to compression was highly correlated to several acoustical indices of modulation depth. In particular, performance was highly correlated to the Euclidean distance between the modulation spectra of the uncompressed and compressed signals. Suggesting that this relationship is not restricted to the initial test conditions, the correlation remained largely unchanged both (1) when listeners with normal hearing were tested using a time-compressed version of the original signal, and (2) when listeners with impaired hearing were tested using the original signal. If this relationship generalizes to more ecologically valid conditions, it will provide a straightforward method for predicting the detectability of compression-induced distortions.
Effect of long-term training on sound localization performance with spectrally warped and band-limited head-related transfer functions134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4816543View Description Hide Description
Sound localization in the sagittal planes, including the ability to distinguish front from back, relies on spectral features caused by the filtering effects of the head, pinna, and torso. It is assumed that important spatial cues are encoded in the frequency range between 4 and 16 kHz. In this study, in a double-blind design and using audio-visual training covering the full 3-D space, normal-hearing listeners were trained 2 h per day over three weeks to localize sounds which were either band limited up to 8.5 kHz or spectrally warped from the range between 2.8 and 16 kHz to the range between 2.8 and 8.5 kHz. The training effect for the warped condition exceeded that for procedural task learning, suggesting a stable auditory recalibration due to the training. After the training, performance with band-limited sounds was better than that with warped ones. The results show that training can improve sound localization in cases where spectral cues have been reduced by band-limiting or remapped by warping. This suggests that hearing-impaired listeners, who have limited access to high frequencies, might also improve their localization ability when provided with spectrally warped or band-limited sounds and adequately trained on sound localization.
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4817875View Description Hide Description
In recent years there has been growing interest in masking that cannot be attributed to interactions in the cochlea—so-called informational masking (IM). Similarity in the acoustic properties of target and masker and uncertainty regarding the masker are the two major factors identified with IM. These factors involve quite different manipulations of signals and are believed to entail fundamentally different processes resulting in IM. Here, however, evidence is presented that these factors affect IM through their mutual influence on a single factor—the information divergence of target and masker given by Simpson–Fitter's da [Lutfi et al. (2012). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 132, EL109–113]. Four experiments are described involving multitone pattern discrimination, multi-talker word recognition, sound-source identification, and sound localization. In each case standard manipulations of masker uncertainty and target-masker similarity (including the covariation of target-masker frequencies) are found to have the same effect on performance provided they produce the same change in da . The function relating performance to da , moreover, appears to be linear with constant slope across listeners. The overriding dependence of IM on da is taken to reflect a general principle of perception that exploits differences in the statistical structure of signals to separate figure from ground.