Effect of Age on F0 Difference Limen and Concurrent Vowel Identification Purpose To investigate the effect of age on voice fundamental frequency (F0) difference limen (DL) and identification of concurrently presented vowels. Method Fifteen younger and 15 older adults with normal audiometric thresholds in the speech range participated in 2 experiments. In Experiment 1, F0 DLs were measured for ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2007
Effect of Age on F0 Difference Limen and Concurrent Vowel Identification
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tara Vongpaisal
    University of Toronto, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Margaret Kathleen Pichora-Fuller
    University of Toronto, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Contact author: Margaret Kathleen Pichora-Fuller, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road North, Mississauga, Ontario L5L 1C6, Canada. E-mail: k.pichora.fuller@utoronto.ca.
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2007
Effect of Age on F0 Difference Limen and Concurrent Vowel Identification
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2007, Vol. 50, 1139-1156. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/079)
History: Received May 3, 2005 , Revised March 9, 2006 , Accepted January 3, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2007, Vol. 50, 1139-1156. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/079)
History: Received May 3, 2005; Revised March 9, 2006; Accepted January 3, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 51

Purpose To investigate the effect of age on voice fundamental frequency (F0) difference limen (DL) and identification of concurrently presented vowels.

Method Fifteen younger and 15 older adults with normal audiometric thresholds in the speech range participated in 2 experiments. In Experiment 1, F0 DLs were measured for a synthesized vowel. In Experiment 2, accuracy in identifying concurrently presented vowel pairs was measured. Vowel pairs were formed from 5 synthesized vowels with F0 separations ranging from 0 to 4 semitones.

Results Younger adults had smaller (better) F0 DLs than older adults. For the older group, age was significantly correlated with F0 DLs. Younger adults identified concurrent vowels more accurately than older adults. When the vowels in the pairs had different formants, both age groups benefited similarly from F0 separation. Interestingly, when both constituent vowels had identical formants, F0 separation was deleterious, especially for older adults. Pure-tone average threshold did not correlate significantly with either F0 DL or accuracy in concurrent vowel identification.

Conclusion Age-related declines were confirmed for F0 DLs, identification of concurrently spoken vowels, and benefit from F0 separation between vowels with identical formants. This pattern of findings is consistent with age-related deficits in periodicity coding.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Some preliminary findings were presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Acoustical Association in October 2004, and a brief summary paper appeared in the conference proceedings (Vongpaisal & Pichora-Fuller, 2004). We thank Trudy Adam and Anne Marie Bowes for preparing the stimuli, James Qi for programming, Lesley Filmer and Christine DeLuca for assistance in testing participants, and Tracy Anselmo for assistance with analyses.
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