Volume 134, Issue 6, December 2013
Index of content:
- PSYCHOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4828821View Description Hide Description
Dolphins and whales use tonal whistles for communication, and it is known that frequency modulation encodes contextual information. An automated mathematical algorithm could characterize the frequency modulation of tonal calls for use with clustering and classification. Most automatic cetacean whistle processing techniques are based on peak or edge detection or require analyst assistance in verifying detections. An alternative paradigm is introduced using techniques of image processing. Frequency information is extracted as ridges in whistle spectrograms. Spectral ridges are the fundamental structure of tonal vocalizations, and ridge detection is a well-established image processing technique, easily applied to vocalization spectrograms. This paradigm is implemented as freely available MATLAB scripts, coined IPRiT (image processing ridge tracker). Its fidelity in the reconstruction of synthesized whistles is compared to another published whistle detection software package, silbido. Both algorithms are also applied to real-world recordings of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops trunactus) signature whistles and tested for the ability to identify whistles belonging to different individuals. IPRiT gave higher fidelity and lower false detection than silbido with synthesized whistles, and reconstructed dolphin identity groups from signature whistles, whereas silbido could not. IPRiT appears to be superior to silbido for the extraction of the precise frequency variation of the whistle.
Effect of signal-temporal uncertainty in children and adults: Tone detection in noise or a random-frequency masker134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4828828View Description Hide Description
A cue indicating when in time to listen can improve adults' tone detection thresholds, particularly for conditions that produce substantial informational masking. The purpose of this study was to determine if 5- to 13-yr-old children likewise benefit from a light cue indicating when in time to listen for a masked pure-tone signal. Each listener was tested in one of two continuous maskers: Broadband noise (low informational masking) or a random-frequency, two-tone masker (high informational masking). Using a single-interval method of constant stimuli, detection thresholds were measured for two temporal conditions: (1) Temporally-defined, with the listening interval defined by a light cue, and (2) temporally-uncertain, with no light cue. Thresholds estimated from psychometric functions fitted to the data indicated that children and adults benefited to the same degree from the visual cue. Across listeners, the average benefit of a defined listening interval was 1.8 dB in the broadband noise and 8.6 dB in the random-frequency, two-tone masker. Thus, the benefit of knowing when in time to listen was more robust for conditions believed to be dominated by informational masking. An unexpected finding of this study was that children's thresholds were comparable to adults' in the random-frequency, two-tone masker.
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4824700View Description Hide Description
Individual factors beyond the audiogram, such as age and cognitive abilities, can influence speech intelligibility and speech quality judgments. This paper develops a neural network framework for combining multiple subject factors into a single model that predicts speech intelligibility and quality for a nonlinear hearing-aid processing strategy. The nonlinear processing approach used in the paper is frequency compression, which is intended to improve the audibility of high-frequency speech sounds by shifting them to lower frequency regions where listeners with high-frequency loss have better hearing thresholds. An ensemble averaging approach is used for the neural network to avoid the problems associated with overfitting. Models are developed for two subject groups, one having nearly normal hearing and the other mild-to-moderate sloping losses.
Axisymmetric versus three-dimensional finite element models for predicting the attenuation of earplugs in rigid walled ear canalsa)134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4826182View Description Hide Description
The axisymmetric hypothesis of the earplug-ear canal system geometry is commonly used. The validity of this hypothesis is investigated numerically in the case of a simplified configuration where the system is embedded in a rigid baffle and for fixed boundary conditions on the earplug lateral walls. This investigation is discussed for both individual and averaged insertion loss predictions of molded silicon earplugs. The insertion losses of 15 earplug-ear canal systems with realistic geometries are calculated using three-dimensional (3D) finite element models and compared with the insertion losses provided by two-dimensional equivalent axisymmetric finite element models using 6 different geometry reconstruction methods [all the models are solved using COMSOL Multiphysics (COMSOL®, Sweden)]. These methods are then compared in order to find the most reliable ones in terms of insertion loss predictions in this simplified configuration. Two methods have emerged: The usage of a variable cross section (with the same area values as the 3D case) or the usage of a constant cross section (with the same length and volume as the 3D case).