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J Acoust Soc Am. 2016 Jul;140(1):EL73. doi: 10.1121/1.4954386.

Release from masking for small spatial separations: Effects of age and hearing loss.

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National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, VA Portland Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, P5-NCRAR, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA,,


Spatially separating target and masking speech can result in substantial spatial release from masking (SRM) for normal-hearing listeners. In this study, SRM was examined at eight spatial configurations of azimuth angle: maskers co-located with the target (0°) or symmetrically separated by 2°, 4°, 6°, 8°, 10°, 15°, or 30°. Results revealed that different listening groups (young normal-hearing, older normal-hearing, and older hearing-impaired) required different minimum amounts of spatial separation between target and maskers to achieve SRM. The results also indicated that aging was the contributing factor predicting SRM at smaller separations, whereas hearing loss was the contributing factor at larger separations.

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