Susceptibility to remote-frequency masking in children and adults was evaluated with respect to three stimulus features: (1) masker bandwidth, (2) spectral separation of the signal and masker, and (3) gated versus continuous masker presentation. Listeners were 4- to 6-year-olds, 7- to 10-year-olds, and adults. Detection thresholds for a 500-ms, 2000-Hz signal were estimated in quiet or presented with a band of noise in one of four frequency regions: 425-500 Hz, 4000-4075 Hz, 8000-8075 Hz, or 4000-10 000 Hz. In experiment 1, maskers were gated on in each 500-ms interval of a three-interval, forced-choice adaptive procedure. Masking was observed for all ages in all maskers, but the greatest masking was observed for the 4000-4075 Hz masker. These findings suggest that signal/masker spectral proximity plays an important role in remote-frequency masking, even when peripheral excitation associated with the signal and masker does not overlap. Younger children tended to have more masking than older children or adults, consistent with a reduced ability to segregate simultaneous sounds and/or listen in a frequency-selective manner. In experiment 2, detection thresholds were estimated in the same noises, but maskers were presented continuously. Masking was reduced for all ages relative to gated conditions, suggesting improved segregation and/or frequency-selective listening.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics