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PLoS One. 2019 Jan 25;14(1):e0210939. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210939. eCollection 2019.

Complex tone stimulation may induce binaural diplacusis with low-tone hearing loss.

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Ichimiya Clinic, Kitsuki City, Oita, Japan.


To clarify the possible mechanism causing binaural diplacusis with low-tone hearing loss, two psychoacoustic experiments were performed with 20 healthy subjects, using harmonic complex tones. In the first experiment, two tones were presented unilaterally, either from the right or left side. One of the tones presented was higher in frequency in terms of the fundamental component, but lower or equal in frequency in terms of the highest component, than the other tone. The subjects were asked which tone was higher in pitch after listening to both tones. They were also asked to compare tones in which low-tone components were eliminated. In the second experiment, the subjects heard these complex tones binaurally, with low-tone components eliminated in one ear. In the first experiment, most subjects perceived pitch direction, that is, higher or lower, in a reverse way when low-tone components were eliminated from the complex tones. In the second experiment, approximately half of all subjects heard the tones at different pitches in both ears. Under certain conditions, complex tone stimulation may induce binaural diplacusis when low-tone hearing is lost in one ear.

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