Factors Affecting Sensitivity to Frequency Change in School-Age Children and Adults Purpose The factors affecting frequency discrimination in school-age children are poorly understood. The goal of the present study was to evaluate developmental effects related to memory for pitch and the utilization of temporal fine structure. Method Listeners were 5.1- to 13.6-year-olds and adults, all with normal hearing. A ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
Factors Affecting Sensitivity to Frequency Change in School-Age Children and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Emily Buss
    University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
  • Crystal N. Taylor
    University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
  • Lori J. Leibold
    University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
  • 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 Emily Buss: ebuss@med.unc.edu
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
  • Associate Editor: Eric Healy
    Associate Editor: Eric Healy×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
Factors Affecting Sensitivity to Frequency Change in School-Age Children and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1972-1982. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0254
History: Received September 19, 2013 , Revised February 26, 2014 , Accepted April 26, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1972-1982. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0254
History: Received September 19, 2013; Revised February 26, 2014; Accepted April 26, 2014

Purpose The factors affecting frequency discrimination in school-age children are poorly understood. The goal of the present study was to evaluate developmental effects related to memory for pitch and the utilization of temporal fine structure.

Method Listeners were 5.1- to 13.6-year-olds and adults, all with normal hearing. A subgroup of children had musical training. The task was a 3-alternative forced choice in which listeners identified the interval with the higher frequency tone or the tone characterized by frequency modulation (FM). The standard was 500 or 5000 Hz, and the FM rate was either 2 or 20 Hz.

Results Thresholds tended to be higher for younger children than for older children and adults for all conditions, although this age effect was smaller for FM detection than for pure-tone frequency discrimination. Neither standard frequency nor modulation rate affected the child/adult difference FM thresholds. Children with musical training performed better than their peers on pure-tone frequency discrimination at 500 Hz.

Conclusions Testing frequency discrimination using a low-rate FM detection task may minimize effects related to cognitive factors like memory for pitch or training effects. Maturation of frequency discrimination does not appear to differ across conditions in which listeners are hypothesized to rely on temporal cues and place cues.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01DC011038 (to Lori J. Leibold). A preliminary report, including a subset of data, was presented at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Montreal, June 2–7, 2013. Comments on a draft of this article were provided by Joseph Hall, Lauren Calandruccio, Heather Porter, and Nicole Corbin.
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