The Effects of Hearing Loss and Noise Masking on the Masking Release for Speech in Temporally Complex Backgrounds Speech recognition was measured in three groups of listeners: those with sensorineural hearing loss of (presumably) cochlear origin (HL), those with normal hearing (NH), and those with normal hearing who listened in the presence of a spectrally shaped noise that elevated their pure-tone thresholds to match those of individual listeners ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1998
The Effects of Hearing Loss and Noise Masking on the Masking Release for Speech in Temporally Complex Backgrounds
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sid P. Bacon
    Psychoacoustics Laboratory Department of Speech and Hearing Science Arizona State University Tempe
  • Jane M. Opie
    Psychoacoustics Laboratory Department of Speech and Hearing Science Arizona State University Tempe
  • Danielle Y. Montoya
    Psychoacoustics Laboratory Department of Speech and Hearing Science Arizona State University Tempe
  • Contact author: Sid P. Bacon, PhD, Psychoacoustics Laboratory, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, PO Box 871908, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1908. Email: spb@asu.edu
  • Currently affiliated with Advanced Bionics Corporation, Sylman, CA
    Currently affiliated with Advanced Bionics Corporation, Sylman, CA×
  • Currently affiliated with Columbia Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, Denver, CO
    Currently affiliated with Columbia Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, Denver, CO×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1998
The Effects of Hearing Loss and Noise Masking on the Masking Release for Speech in Temporally Complex Backgrounds
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 549-563. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.549
History: Received July 21, 1997 , Accepted January 14, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 549-563. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.549
History: Received July 21, 1997; Accepted January 14, 1998

Speech recognition was measured in three groups of listeners: those with sensorineural hearing loss of (presumably) cochlear origin (HL), those with normal hearing (NH), and those with normal hearing who listened in the presence of a spectrally shaped noise that elevated their pure-tone thresholds to match those of individual listeners in the HL group (NM). Performance was measured in four backgrounds that differed only in their temporal envelope: steady-state (SS) speech-shaped noise, speech-shaped noise modulated by the envelope of multi-talker babble (MT), speech-shaped noise modulated by the envelope of single-talker speech (ST), and speech-shaped noise modulated by a 10-Hz square wave (SQ). Threshold signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) were typically best in the ST and especially the SQ conditions, indicating a masking release in those modulated backgrounds. SNRs in the SS and MT conditions were essentially identical to one another. The masking release was largest in the listeners in the NH group, and it tended to decrease as hearing loss increased. In 5 of the 11 listeners in the HL group, the masking release was nearly identical to that obtained in the NM group matched to those listeners; in the other 6 listeners, the release was smaller than that in the NM group. The reduced masking release was simulated best in those HL listeners for whom the masking release was relatively large. These results suggest that reduced masking release for speech in listeners with sensorineural hearing loss can only sometimes be accounted for entirely by reduced audibility.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by a grant from NIDCD (DC01376). We thank two anonymous reviewers and Sandy Gordon-Salant for their comments on a previous version of this manuscript. We also thank Michael Dorman for his assistance with Figure 1.
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