Perception of dissonance by people with normal hearing and sensorineural hearing loss

Jennifer B. Tufts, Michelle R. Molis, Marjorie R. Leek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether the perceived sensory dissonance of. pairs of pure tones (PT dyads) or pairs of harmonic complex tones (HC dyads) is altered due to sensorineural hearing loss. Four normal-hearing (NH) and four hearing-impaired (HI) listeners judged the sensory dissonance of PT dyads geometrically centered at 500 and 2000 Hz, and of HC dyads with fundamental frequencies geometrically centered at 500 Hz. The frequency separation of the members of the dyads varied from O Hz to just over an octave. In addition, frequency selectivity was assessed at 500 and 2000 Hz for each listener. Maximum dissonance was perceived at frequency separations smaller than the auditory filter bandwidth for both groups of listners, but maximum dissonance for HI listeners occurred at a greater proportion of their bandwidths at 500 Hz than at 2000 Hz. Further, their auditory-filter bandwidths at 500 Hz were significantly wider than those of the NH listeners. For both the PT and HC dyads, curves displaying dissonance as a function of frequency separation were more compressed for the HI listeners, possibly reflecting less contrast between their perceptions of consonance and dissonance compared with the NH listeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-967
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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