Poor speech understanding in noise by hearing-impaired (HI) listeners is only partly explained by elevated audiometric thresholds. Suprathreshold- processing impairments such as reduced temporal or spectral resolution or temporal fine-structure (TFS) processing ability might also contribute. Although speech contains dynamic combinations of temporal and spectral modulation and TFS content, these capabilities are often treated separately. Modulation-depth detection thresholds for spectrotemporal modulation (STM) applied to octave-band noise were measured for normal-hearing and HI listeners as a function of temporal modulation rate (4-32 Hz), spectral ripple density [0.5-4 cycles/octave (c/o)] and carrier center frequency (500-4000 Hz). STM sensitivity was worse than normal for HI listeners only for a low-frequency carrier (1000 Hz) at low temporal modulation rates (4-12 Hz) and a spectral ripple density of 2 c/o, and for a high-frequency carrier (4000 Hz) at a high spectral ripple density (4 c/o). STM sensitivity for the 4-Hz, 4-c/o condition for a 4000-Hz carrier and for the 4-Hz, 2-c/o condition for a 1000-Hz carrier were correlated with speech-recognition performance in noise after partialling out the audiogram-based speech-intelligibility index. Poor speech-reception and STM-detection performance for HI listeners may be related to a combination of reduced frequency selectivity and a TFS-processing deficit limiting the ability to track spectral-peak movements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics