Forward and Backward Masking of Consonants in School-Age Children and Adults Purpose This experiment sought to determine whether children's increased susceptibility to nonsimultaneous masking, particularly backward masking, is evident for speech stimuli. Method Five- to 9-year-olds and adults with normal hearing heard nonsense consonant–vowel–consonant targets. In Experiments 1 and 2, those targets were presented between two 250-ms segments of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 13, 2018
Forward and Backward Masking of Consonants in School-Age Children and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heather L. Porter
    Center for Hearing Research, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • Emily R. Spitzer
    Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Emily Buss
    Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lori J. Leibold
    Center for Hearing Research, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • John H. Grose
    Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina at 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 Heather L. Porter: heather.porter@boystown.org
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Jennifer Lentz
    Editor: Jennifer Lentz×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 13, 2018
Forward and Backward Masking of Consonants in School-Age Children and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2018, Vol. 61, 1807-1814. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0403
History: Received October 28, 2017 , Revised January 11, 2018 , Accepted March 20, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2018, Vol. 61, 1807-1814. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0403
History: Received October 28, 2017; Revised January 11, 2018; Accepted March 20, 2018

Purpose This experiment sought to determine whether children's increased susceptibility to nonsimultaneous masking, particularly backward masking, is evident for speech stimuli.

Method Five- to 9-year-olds and adults with normal hearing heard nonsense consonant–vowel–consonant targets. In Experiments 1 and 2, those targets were presented between two 250-ms segments of 70-dB-SPL speech-shaped noise, at either −30 dB signal-to-noise ratio (Experiment 1) or at the listener's word recognition threshold (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, the target was presented in steady speech-shaped noise at listener threshold. For all experiments, percent correct was estimated for initial and final consonants.

Results In the nonsimultaneous noise conditions, child–adult differences were larger for the final consonant than the initial consonant whether listeners were tested at −30 dB signal-to-noise ratio (Experiment 1) or at their individual word recognition threshold (Experiment 2). Children were not particularly susceptible to backward masking relative to adults when tested in a steady masker (Experiment 3).

Conclusions Child–adult differences were greater for backward than forward masking for speech in a nonsimultaneous noise masker, as observed in previous psychophysical studies using tonal stimuli. Children's greater susceptibility to nonsimultaneous masking, and backward masking in particular, could play a role in their limited ability to benefit from masker envelope modulation when recognizing masked speech.

Acknowledgments
The work was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R01 DC011038, granted to Lori J. Leibold, and F32 DC014209, granted to Heather L. Porter). The authors are grateful to Margaret Miller, Heidi Lang, and the members of the Psychoacoustics Laboratories and the Human Auditory Development Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for their assistance with data processing.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access