To determine the minimum difference in amplitude between spectral peaks and troughs sufficient for vowel identification by normalhearing and hearing-impaired listeners, four vowel-like complex sounds were created by summing the first 30 harmonics of a 100-Hz tone. The amplitudes of all harmonics were equal, except for two consecutive harmonics located at each of three “formant” locations. The amplitudes of these harmonics were equal and ranged from 1-8 dB more than the remaining components. Normal-hearing listeners achieved greater than 75% accuracy when peak-to-trough differences were 1-2 dB. Normal-hearing listeners who were tested in a noise background sufficient to raise their thresholds to the level of a flat, moderate hearing loss needed a 4-dB difference for identification. Listeners with a moderate, flat hearing loss required a 6- to 7-dB difference for identification. The results suggest, for normalhearing listeners, that the peak-to-trough amplitude difference required for identification of this set of vowels is very near the threshold for detection of a change in the amplitude spectrum of a complex signal. Hearing-impaired listeners may have difficulty using closely spaced formants for vowel identification due to abnormal smoothing of the internal representation of the spectrum by broadened auditory filters.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of the Acoustical Society of America|
|State||Published - Jan 1987|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics