The Effect of Asymmetrical Signal Degradation on Binaural Speech Recognition in Children and Adults To determine the effect of asymmetrical signal degradation on binaural speech recognition, 28 children and 14 adults were administered a sentence recognition task amidst multitalker babble. There were 3 listening conditions: (a) monaural, with mild degradation in 1 ear; (b) binaural, with mild degradation in both ears (symmetric degradation); and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2004
The Effect of Asymmetrical Signal Degradation on Binaural Speech Recognition in Children and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ann M. Rothpletz
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Anne Marie Tharpe
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • D. Wesley Grantham
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: ann.rothpletz@colorado.edu
  • Currently affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder
    Currently affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder×
  • Contact author: Ann Rothpletz, PhD, Department of Speech/ Language and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Campus Box 409, Boulder, CO 80309-0409. E-mail: ann.rothpletz@colorado.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2004
The Effect of Asymmetrical Signal Degradation on Binaural Speech Recognition in Children and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 269-280. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/022)
History: Received April 7, 2003 , Accepted October 8, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 269-280. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/022)
History: Received April 7, 2003; Accepted October 8, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

To determine the effect of asymmetrical signal degradation on binaural speech recognition, 28 children and 14 adults were administered a sentence recognition task amidst multitalker babble. There were 3 listening conditions: (a) monaural, with mild degradation in 1 ear; (b) binaural, with mild degradation in both ears (symmetric degradation); and (c) binaural, with mild degradation in one ear and severe degradation in the other ear (asymmetric degradation). Sentences and babble were degraded digitally to simulate mild and severe cochlear hearing loss. All participants demonstrated significant binaural advantage (average of 7 dB) when listening to symmetrically degraded signals as compared to when listening monaurally. In contrast, adults and children achieved little or no binaural benefit, on average, when listening to asymmetrically degraded signals. Moreover, overall performance of the adults was significantly worse when listening to binaural asymmetrically degraded signals than when listening to monaural signals, thus demonstrating evidence of binaural interference. In contrast to our original speculations, however, children did not show an overall demonstration of binaural interference. Relative performance in the binaural-asymmetric and the monaural conditions was not influenced by which ear (right or left) received the more degraded signal.

Acknowledgments
This project was funded, in part, by a Vanderbilt University Dissertation Enhancement Grant. We would like to thank the review committee of the Vanderbilt University Graduate School for providing this financial award.
We would like to thank Brian Moore of Cambridge University for providing the computer algorithms that were used to degrade the speech stimuli for this project. In addition, we would like to express sincere gratitude to Daniel Ashmead, John Grose, and Ralph Ohde for their valuable contributions to the development and analysis of this project as well as their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Finally, we thank our study participants and their parents for their time and involvement in data collection.
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