Perception of a Sung Vowel as a Function of Frequency-Modulation Rate and Excursion in Listeners With Normal Hearing and Hearing Impairment Purpose Frequency fluctuations in human voices can usually be described as coherent frequency modulation (FM). As listeners with hearing impairment (HI listeners) are typically less sensitive to FM than listeners with normal hearing (NH listeners), this study investigated whether hearing loss affects the perception of a sung vowel based on ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
Perception of a Sung Vowel as a Function of Frequency-Modulation Rate and Excursion in Listeners With Normal Hearing and Hearing Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marianna Vatti
    Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby
    Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Denmark
  • Sébastien Santurette
    Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby
  • Niels Henrik Pontoppidan
    Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Denmark
  • Torsten Dau
    Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Sébastien Santurette: ses@elektro.dtu.dk
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
  • Associate Editor: Marjorie Leek
    Associate Editor: Marjorie Leek×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
Perception of a Sung Vowel as a Function of Frequency-Modulation Rate and Excursion in Listeners With Normal Hearing and Hearing Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1961-1971. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0219
History: Received August 13, 2013 , Revised January 28, 2014 , Accepted April 16, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1961-1971. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0219
History: Received August 13, 2013; Revised January 28, 2014; Accepted April 16, 2014

Purpose Frequency fluctuations in human voices can usually be described as coherent frequency modulation (FM). As listeners with hearing impairment (HI listeners) are typically less sensitive to FM than listeners with normal hearing (NH listeners), this study investigated whether hearing loss affects the perception of a sung vowel based on FM cues.

Method Vibrato maps were obtained in 14 NH and 12 HI listeners with different degrees of musical experience. The FM rate and FM excursion of a synthesized vowel, to which coherent FM was applied, were adjusted until a singing voice emerged.

Results In NH listeners, adding FM to the steady vowel components produced perception of a singing voice for FM rates between 4.1 and 7.5 Hz and FM excursions between 17 and 83 cents on average. In contrast, HI listeners showed substantially broader vibrato maps. Individual differences in map boundaries were, overall, not correlated with audibility or frequency selectivity at the vowel fundamental frequency, with no clear effect of musical experience.

Conclusion Overall, it was shown that hearing loss affects the perception of a sung vowel based on FM-rate and FM-excursion cues, possibly due to deficits in FM detection or discrimination or to a degraded ability to follow the rate of frequency changes.

Acknowledgments
We thank the test persons for their patience and collaboration. We give special thanks to Renskje Hietkamp for help with instructing the test persons and with the administrative work.
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