Age-Related Improvements in Auditory Backward and Simultaneous Masking in 6- to 10-Year-Old Children This study investigated the development of auditory frequency and temporal resolution using simultaneous and backward masking of a tone by a noise. The participants were 6- to 10-year-old children and adults. On the measure of frequency resolution (the difference in the detection threshold for a tone presented either in a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2000
Age-Related Improvements in Auditory Backward and Simultaneous Masking in 6- to 10-Year-Old Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Douglas E. H. Hartley
    University Laboratory of Physiology Oxford, England
  • Beverly A. Wright
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Sarah C. Hogan
    University Laboratory of Physiology Oxford, England
  • David R. Moore
    University Laboratory of Physiology Oxford, England
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2000
Age-Related Improvements in Auditory Backward and Simultaneous Masking in 6- to 10-Year-Old Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2000, Vol. 43, 1402-1415. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4306.1402
History: Received July 26, 1999 , Accepted September 16, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2000, Vol. 43, 1402-1415. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4306.1402
History: Received July 26, 1999; Accepted September 16, 2000

This study investigated the development of auditory frequency and temporal resolution using simultaneous and backward masking of a tone by a noise. The participants were 6- to 10-year-old children and adults. On the measure of frequency resolution (the difference in the detection threshold for a tone presented either in a bandpass noise or in a spectrally notched noise), 6-year-old children performed as well as adults. However, for the backward masking task, 6-yearolds had, on average, 34 dB higher thresholds than adults. A negative exponential decay function fitted to the backward masking data for subjects of all ages indicated that adult-like temporal resolution may not be reached until about 11 years of age. These results show that, measured by masking, frequency resolution has reached adult-like performance by 6 years of age, whereas temporal resolution develops beyond 10 years of age. Six-year-old children were also assessed with tests of cognitive ability. Improvements in both frequency and temporal resolution were found with increasing IQ score.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Knowles Fund, the McDonnell- Pew Programme in Cognitive Neuroscience, and NIDCD. Our grateful thanks are extended to all the families who participated in the study. We are also indebted to Mervyn Hardiman for his assistance with software development.
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