Pure-Tone Frequency Discrimination in Preschoolers, Young School-Age Children, and Adults Purpose Published data indicate nearly adultlike frequency discrimination in infants but large child–adult differences for school-age children. This study evaluated the role that differences in measurement procedures and stimuli may have played in the apparent nonmonotonicity. Frequency discrimination was assessed in preschoolers, young school-age children, and adults using stimuli and ... Research Note
Research Note  |   September 19, 2018
Pure-Tone Frequency Discrimination in Preschoolers, Young School-Age Children, and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jane Rose
    Human Auditory Development Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
    Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Mary Flaherty
    Human Auditory Development Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • Jenna Browning
    Human Auditory Development Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • Lori J. Leibold
    Human Auditory Development Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • Emily Buss
    Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina, 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 Jane Rose: jrose93@terpmail.umd.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Jennifer Lentz
    Editor: Jennifer Lentz×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing / Research Notes
Research Note   |   September 19, 2018
Pure-Tone Frequency Discrimination in Preschoolers, Young School-Age Children, and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 2018, Vol. 61, 2440-2445. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0445
History: Received December 2, 2017 , Revised April 22, 2018 , Accepted May 16, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 2018, Vol. 61, 2440-2445. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0445
History: Received December 2, 2017; Revised April 22, 2018; Accepted May 16, 2018

Purpose Published data indicate nearly adultlike frequency discrimination in infants but large child–adult differences for school-age children. This study evaluated the role that differences in measurement procedures and stimuli may have played in the apparent nonmonotonicity. Frequency discrimination was assessed in preschoolers, young school-age children, and adults using stimuli and procedures that have previously been used to test infants.

Method Listeners were preschoolers (3–4 years), young school-age children (5–6 years), and adults (19–38 years). Performance was assessed using a single-interval, observer-based method and a continuous train of stimuli, similar to that previously used to evaluate infants. Testing was completed using 500- and 5000-Hz standard tones, fixed within a set of trials. Thresholds for frequency discrimination were obtained using an adaptive, two-down one-up procedure. Adults and most school-age children responded by raising their hands. An observer-based, conditioned-play response was used to test preschoolers and those school-age children for whom the hand-raise procedure was not effective for conditioning.

Results Results suggest an effect of age and frequency on thresholds but no interaction between these 2 factors. A lower proportion of preschoolers completed training compared with young school-age children. For those children who completed training, however, thresholds did not improve significantly with age; both groups of children performed more poorly than adults. Performance was better for the 500-Hz standard frequency compared with the 5000-Hz standard frequency.

Conclusions Thresholds for school-age children were broadly similar to those previously observed using a forced-choice procedure. Although there was a trend for improved performance with increasing age, no significant age effect was observed between preschoolers and school-age children. The practice of excluding participants based on failure to meet conditioning criteria in an observer-based task could contribute to the relatively good performance observed for preschoolers in this study and the adultlike performance previously observed in infants.

Acknowledgments
This work was sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC014460 (Emily Buss, principal investigator). The first author of this research note was a T-35 research trainee supported by Grant T35 DC008757. Participant recruitment was facilitated by the Clinical Measurement Core of Boys Town National Research Hospital, which is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award P20GM109023. The authors thank Elizabeth Schneider for her contributions as the test assistant.
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