Development of Spatial Release From Masking in Mandarin-Speaking Children With Normal Hearing Purpose This study investigated the development of spatial release from masking in children using closed-set Mandarin disyllabic words and monosyllabic words carrying lexical tones as test stimuli and speech spectrum–weighted noise as a masker. Method Twenty-six children ages 4–9 years and 12 adults, all with normal hearing, participated ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
Development of Spatial Release From Masking in Mandarin-Speaking Children With Normal Hearing
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kevin C. P. Yuen
    The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
  • Meng Yuan
    Bionic Ear and Sound Technology Laboratory/Medical Centre for Hearing and Speech, Shanghai Acoustics Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
  • 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 Kevin C. P. Yuen: cpyuen@ied.edu.hk
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
  • Associate Editor: Patrick Wong
    Associate Editor: Patrick Wong×
Article Information
Development / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
Development of Spatial Release From Masking in Mandarin-Speaking Children With Normal Hearing
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 2005-2023. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0060
History: Received March 13, 2013 , Revised October 7, 2013 , Accepted May 24, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 2005-2023. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0060
History: Received March 13, 2013; Revised October 7, 2013; Accepted May 24, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose This study investigated the development of spatial release from masking in children using closed-set Mandarin disyllabic words and monosyllabic words carrying lexical tones as test stimuli and speech spectrum–weighted noise as a masker.

Method Twenty-six children ages 4–9 years and 12 adults, all with normal hearing, participated in speech recognition tests under 2 conditions: (a) speech and noise spatially mixed and presented from the front (NF), and (b) speech presented from the front with noise spatially separated and presented from the side (NS) with different signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Performance-SNR psychometric functions were obtained that generated the SNR for a 50% correct score (SNR-50%) as the outcome measure.

Results In the child participants, SNR-50% improved with age in NS but not NF. The difference in SNR-50% between NS and NF—the spatial release from masking (SRM)—increased with age with an average improvement of 0.1–0.15 dB per month.

Conclusions SRM has a long developmental time, at least up to 9 years of age, which is significantly longer than some previous developmental studies have suggested. The child participants had not yet reached the adult SRM performance level. SRM is a potential clinical measure to reflect the maturation of spatial auditory processing.

Acknowledgments
This study was partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 11104316, the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai, China Grant 11ZR1446000, and Chairman Foundation of Institute of Acoustics (CAS) Grant Y154221701. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Luan Lan, Li Huan, Wei Cao Gang, and Cao Ke Li, all at The Peking Union Medical College Hospital (Beijing) in testing the participants of the child group, and Sun Jin at The Bionic Ear and Sound Technology Laboratory, Shanghai Acoustics Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, in testing the participants of the adult group. We are also thankful to the participants and their families for their time and involvement in this project.
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