Discrimination of time-reversed harmonic complexes by normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners

Amanda M. Lauer, Michelle Molis, Marjorie R. Leek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Normal-hearing (NH) listeners and hearing-impaired (HI) listeners detected and discriminated time-reversed harmonic complexes constructed of equal-amplitude harmonic components with fundamental frequencies (F0s) ranging from 50 to 800 Hz. Component starting phases were selected according to the positive and negative Schroeder-phase algorithms to produce within-period frequency sweeps with relatively flat temporal envelopes. Detection thresholds were not affected by component starting phases for either group of listeners. At presentation levels of 80 dB SPL, NH listeners could discriminate the two waveforms nearly perfectly when the F0s were less than 300-400 Hz but fell to chance performance for higher F0s. HI listeners performed significantly poorer, with reduced discrimination at several of the F0s. In contrast, at a lower presentation level meant to nearly equate sensation levels for the two groups, NH listeners' discrimination was poorer than HI listeners at most F0s. Roving presentation levels had little effect on performance by NH listeners but reduced performance by HI listeners. The differential impact of roving level suggests a weaker perception of timbre differences and a greater susceptibility to the detrimental effects of experimental uncertainty in HI listeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-619
Number of pages11
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Frequency sweep
  • Harmonic complex
  • Hearing impairment
  • Schroeder phase
  • Stimulus uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems


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