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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Jan;117(1):292-304.

Across-ear interference from parametrically degraded synthetic speech signals in a dichotic cocktail-party listening task.

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  • 1Air Force Research Laboratory, AFRL/HECB, WPAFB, Ohio 45433, USA.


Recent results have shown that listeners attending to the quieter of two speech signals in one ear (the target ear) are highly susceptible to interference from normal or time-reversed speech signals presented in the unattended ear. However, speech-shaped noise signals have little impact on the segregation of speech in the opposite ear. This suggests that there is a fundamental difference between the across-ear interference effects of speech and nonspeech signals. In this experiment, the intelligibility and contralateral-ear masking characteristics of three synthetic speech signals with parametrically adjustable speech-like properties were examined: (1) a modulated noise-band (MNB) speech signal composed of fixed-frequency bands of envelope-modulated noise; (2) a modulated sine-band (MSB) speech signal composed of fixed-frequency amplitude-modulated sinewaves; and (3) a "sinewave speech" signal composed of sine waves tracking the first four formants of speech. In all three cases, a systematic decrease in performance in the two-talker target-ear listening task was found as the number of bands in the contralateral speech-like masker increased. These results suggest that speech-like fluctuations in the spectral envelope of a signal play an important role in determining the amount of across-ear interference that a signal will produce in a dichotic cocktail-party listening task.

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