Previous research with speechlike signals has suggested that upward spread of masking from the first formant (F1) may interfere with the identification of place of articulation information signaled by changes in the upper formants. This suggestion was tested by presenting two-formant stop consonant–vowel syllables varying along a /ba/–/da/–/ga/ continuum to hearing-impaired listeners grouped according to etiological basis of the disorder. The syllables were presented monaurally at 80 and 100 dB SPL when formant amplitudes were equal and when F1 amplitude was reduced by 6, 12, and 18 dB. Noise-on-tone masking patterns were also generated using narrow bands of noise at 80 and 100 dB SPL to assess the extent of upward spread of masking. Upward spread of masking could be demonstrated in both speech and nonspeech tasks, irrespective of the subject’s age, audiometric configuration, or etiology of hearing impairment. Attenuation of F1 had different effects on phonetic identification in different subject groups: While listeners with noise-induced hearing loss showed substantial improvement in identifying place of articulation, upward spread of masking did not consistently account for poor place identification in other types of sensorineural hearing impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics