The Influence of Target and Masker Characteristics on Infants' and Adults' Detection of Speech Purpose Several investigators have compared infants' detection of speech in speech and nonspeech maskers to evaluate developmental differences in masking. Such comparisons have produced contradictory results, possibly because each investigation used different stimuli. The current study examined target and masker effects on infants' and adults' detection of speech. ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   November 29, 2017
The Influence of Target and Masker Characteristics on Infants' and Adults' Detection of Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Monika-Maria Oster
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Lynne A. Werner
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 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 Monika-Maria Oster: mmoster@uw.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Daniel Fogerty
    Editor: Daniel Fogerty×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   November 29, 2017
The Influence of Target and Masker Characteristics on Infants' and Adults' Detection of Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0464
History: Received December 23, 2016 , Revised April 27, 2017 , Accepted July 28, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0464
History: Received December 23, 2016; Revised April 27, 2017; Accepted July 28, 2017

Purpose Several investigators have compared infants' detection of speech in speech and nonspeech maskers to evaluate developmental differences in masking. Such comparisons have produced contradictory results, possibly because each investigation used different stimuli. The current study examined target and masker effects on infants' and adults' detection of speech.

Method An observer-based procedure was used to compare infants' and adults' detection of the vowel /ʌ/ and the word “baby” in a 2-talker speech masker and matched speech-spectrum noise. The measure of performance was d′. A total of 43 7-month-old infants and 41 young adults were randomly assigned to 1 target–masker combination condition, and mean performance was compared across conditions at each age.

Results Adults' detection was influenced by an interaction between the target and the masker: Adults detected the vowel better in the 2-talker masker than in speech-spectrum noise but detected the word equally well in the 2 maskers. In contrast, infants detected both targets better in speech-spectrum noise than in the 2-talker masker.

Conclusions The relative effects of the masker on target detection by infants and adults depend on the target to be detected. Thus, conclusions drawn about differences between infants and adults in the mechanisms responsible for masking will depend on the stimuli. Standardization of speech stimuli in developmental research would help clarify the nature of infants' segregation difficulties.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5613139

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01 DC000396 awarded to Lynne A. Werner, T32 DC000033 awarded to Monika-Maria Oster, F31 DC016209 awarded to Monika-Maria Oster, and P30 DC004661 awarded to Edwin W. Rubel. We thank Lori Leibold for her advice, the members of the Infant Hearing Lab for their assistance in subject recruitment and data collection, and Brandon Warren for software development and assistance.
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