The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of spectral-cue audibility on the recognition of stop consonants in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired adults. Subjects identified six synthetic CV speech tokens in a closed-set response task. Each syllable differed only in the initial 40-ms consonant portion of the stimulus. In order to relate performance to spectral-cue audibility, the initial 40 ms of each CV were analyzed via FFT and the resulting spectral array was passed through a sliding-filter model of the human auditory system to account for logarithmic representation of frequency and the summation of stimulus energy within critical bands. This allowed the spectral data to be displayed in comparison to a subject's sensitivity thresholds. For normal-hearing subjects, an orderly function relating the percentage of audible stimulus to recognition performance was found, with perfect discrimination performance occurring when the bulk of the stimulus spectrum was presented at suprathreshold levels. For the hearing-impaired subjects, however, it was found in many instances that suprathreshold presentation of stop-consonant spectral cues did not yield recognition equivalent to that found for the normal-hearing subjects. These results demonstrate that while the audibility of individual stop consonants is an important factor influencing recognition performance in hearing-impaired subjects, it is not always sufficient to explain the effects of sensorineural hearing loss.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics