Temporal Effects on Monaural Amplitude-Modulation Sensitivity in Ipsilateral, Contralateral and Bilateral Noise
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The amplitude modulations (AMs) in speech signals are useful cues for speech recognition. Several adaptation mechanisms may make the detection of AM in noisy backgrounds easier when the AM carrier is presented later rather than earlier in the noise. The aim of the present study was to characterize temporal adaptation to noise in AM detection. AM detection thresholds were measured for monaural (50 ms, 1.5 kHz) pure-tone carriers presented at the onset (‘early’ condition) and 300 ms after the onset (‘late’ condition) of ipsilateral, contralateral, and bilateral (diotic) broadband noise, as well as in quiet. Thresholds were 2–4 dB better in the late than in the early condition for the three noise lateralities. The temporal effect held for carriers at equal sensation levels, confirming that it was not due to overshoot on carrier audibility. The temporal effect was larger for broadband than for low-band contralateral noises. Many aspects in the results were consistent with the noise activating the medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR) and enhancing AM depth in the peripheral auditory response. Other aspects, however, indicate that central masking and adaptation unrelated to the MOCR also affect both carrier-tone and AM detection and are involved in the temporal effects.
Keywordsolivocochlear reflex overshoot sound envelope central masking dynamic range adaptation
We thank the three anonymous reviewers and the editor for their excellent comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Work supported by a doctoral contract of the University of Salamanca and Banco Santander to MMP, and by FEDER and MINECO (BFU2015-65376-P) to EALP.
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