Effect of masker type and age on speech intelligibility and spatial release from masking in children and adults

Patti Johnstone, Ruth Y. Litovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Speech recognition in noisy environments improves when the speech signal is spatially separated from the interfering sound. This effect, known as spatial release from masking (SRM), was recently shown in young children. The present study compared SRM in children of ages 5-7 with adults for interferers introducing energetic, informational, and/or linguistic components. Three types of interferers were used: speech, reversed speech, and modulated white noise. Two female voices with different long-term spectra were also used. Speech reception thresholds (SRTs) were compared for: Quiet (target 0° front, no interferer), Front (target and interferer both 0° front), and Right (interferer 90° right, target 0° front). Children had higher SRTs and greater masking than adults. When spatial cues were not available, adults, but not children, were able to use differences in interferer type to separate the target from the interferer. Both children and adults showed SRM. Children, unlike adults, demonstrated large amounts of SRM for a time-reversed speech interferer. In conclusion, masking and SRM vary with the type of interfering sound, and this variation interacts with age; SRM may not depend on the spectral peculiarities of a particular type of voice when the target speech and interfering speech are different sex talkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2177-2189
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume120
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2006

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intelligibility
masking
linguistics
thresholds
acoustics
Speech Intelligibility
Masking
cues
speech recognition
white noise

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Cite this

Effect of masker type and age on speech intelligibility and spatial release from masking in children and adults. / Johnstone, Patti; Litovsky, Ruth Y.

In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 120, No. 4, 16.10.2006, p. 2177-2189.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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