Binaural Release from Masking for a Speech Sound in Infants, Preschoolers, and Adults Binaural masked thresholds for a speech sound (/ba/) were estimated under two interaural phase conditions (N0S0 and N0Sπ;) in three age groups (infants, preschool children, and adults). A computer-based head-turn with visual reinforcement procedure was used to test the infants. Preschoolers were tested using a modified play audiometry task, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1988
Binaural Release from Masking for a Speech Sound in Infants, Preschoolers, and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert J. Nozza
    University of Pittsburgh Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Eric F. Wagner
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Melissa A. Crandell
    Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1988
Binaural Release from Masking for a Speech Sound in Infants, Preschoolers, and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1988, Vol. 31, 212-218. doi:10.1044/jshr.3102.212
History: Received May 7, 1987 , Accepted August 31, 1987
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1988, Vol. 31, 212-218. doi:10.1044/jshr.3102.212
History: Received May 7, 1987; Accepted August 31, 1987

Binaural masked thresholds for a speech sound (/ba/) were estimated under two interaural phase conditions (N0S0 and N0Sπ;) in three age groups (infants, preschool children, and adults). A computer-based head-turn with visual reinforcement procedure was used to test the infants. Preschoolers were tested using a modified play audiometry task, and adults were tested conventionally with the same apparatus as used with the infants. Differences in masked threshold as a function of both age and interaural phase condition, and differences in the binaural masking level difference (BMLD) with age, were found when the masker intensity was the same for each group. However, testing of adults with maskers of reduced intensity to compensate for hearing threshold differences relative to the two younger groups (a possible confounding variable in the estimate of the BMLD) eliminated the difference in BMLD between adults and preschoolers. The difference between infants and adults remained statistically significant, suggesting a possible developmental change in binaural hearing early in life. The relevance of developmental change in binaural hearing with respect to both infant auditory processing and the methods we use to assess it are discussed.

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