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J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Jul;132(1):369-79. doi: 10.1121/1.4728200.

Apparent auditory source width insensitivity in older hearing-impaired individuals.

Author information

  • 1MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Scottish Section, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow G31 2ER, United Kingdom. bill@ihr.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

Previous studies have shown a loss in the precision of horizontal localization responses of older hearing-impaired (HI) individuals, along with potentially poorer neural representations of sound-source location. These deficits could be the result or corollary of greater difficulties in discriminating spatial images, and the insensitivity to punctate sound sources. This hypothesis was tested in three headphone-presentation experiments varying interaural coherence (IC), the cue most associated with apparent auditory source width. First, thresholds for differences in IC were measured for a broad sampling of participants. Older HI participants were significantly worse at discriminating IC across reference values than younger normal-hearing participants. These results are consistent with senescent increases in temporal jitter. Performance decreased with age, a finding corroborated in a second discrimination experiment using a separate group of participants matched for hearing loss. This group also completed a third, visual experiment, with both a cross-mapping task where they drew the size of the sound they heard and the identification task where they chose the image that best corresponded to what they heard. The results from the visual tasks indicate that older HI individuals do not hear punctate images and are relatively insensitive to changes in width based on IC.

PMID:
22779484
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3566657
Free PMC Article

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