Individuals with hearing loss are thought to be less sensitive to the often subtle variations of acoustic information that support auditory stream segregation. Perceptual segregation can be influenced by differences in both the spectral and temporal characteristics of interleaved stimuli. The purpose of this study was to determine what stimulus characteristics support sequential stream segregation by normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners. Iterated rippled noises (IRNs) were used to assess the effects of tonality, spectral resolvability, and hearing loss on the perception of auditory streams in two pitch regions, corresponding to 250 and 1000 Hz. Overall, listeners with hearing loss were significantly less likely to segregate alternating IRNs into two auditory streams than were normally hearing listeners. Low pitched IRNs were generally less likely to segregate into two streams than were higher pitched IRNs. High-pass filtering was a strong contributor to reduced segregation for both groups. The tonality, or pitch strength, of the IRNs had a significant effect on streaming, but the effect was similar for both groups of subjects. These data demonstrate that stream segregation is influenced by many factors including pitch differences, pitch region, spectral resolution, and degree of stimulus tonality, in addition to the loss of auditory sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics