This study examined the degree to which masker-spectral variability contributes to children's susceptibility to informational masking. Listeners were younger children (5-7 years), older children (8-10 years), and adults (19-34 years). Masked thresholds were measured using a 2IFC, adaptive procedure for a 300-ms, 1000-Hz signal presented simultaneously with (1) broadband noise, (2) a random-frequency ten-tone complex, or (3) a fixed-frequency ten-tone complex. Maskers were presented at an overall level of 60 dB SPL. Thresholds were similar across age for the noise condition. Thresholds for most children were higher than for most adults, however, for both ten-tone conditions. The average difference in threshold between random and fixed ten-tone conditions was comparable across age, suggesting a similar effect of reducing masker-spectral variability in children and adults. Children appear more likely to be susceptible to informational masking than adults, however, both with and in the absence of masker-spectral variability. The addition of a masker fringe (delayed onset of signal relative to masker) provided a release from masking for fixed and random ten-tone conditions in all age groups, suggesting at least part of the masking observed for both ten-tone maskers was informational.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics