The Effect of Hearing Loss on Identification of Asynchronous Double Vowels

Lentz, Jennifer J.; Marsh, Shavon L.
December 2006
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2006, Vol. 49 Issue 6, p1354
Academic Journal
This study determined whether listeners with hearing loss received reduced benefits due to an onset asynchrony between sounds. Seven normal-hearing listeners and 7 listeners with hearing impairment (HI) were presented with 2 synthetic, steady-state vowels. One vowel (the late-arriving vowel) was 250 ms in duration, and the other (the early-arriving vowel) varied in duration between 350 and 550 ms. The vowels had simultaneous offsets, and therefore an onset asynchrony between the 2 vowels ranged between 100 and 300 ms. The early-arriving and late-arriving vowels also had either the same or different fundamental frequencies. Increases in onset asynchrony and differences in fundamental frequency led to better vowel-identification performance for both groups, with listeners with HI benefiting less from onset asynchrony than normal-hearing listeners. The presence of fundamental frequency differences did not influence the benefit received from onset asynchrony for either group. Excitation pattern modeling indicated that the reduced benefit received from onset asynchrony was not easily predicted by the reduced audibility of the vowel sounds for listeners with HI. Therefore, suprathreshold factors such as loss of the cochlear nonlinearity, reduced temporal integration, and the perception of vowel dominance probably play a greater role in the reduced benefit received from onset asynchrony in listeners with HI.


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