Speech masking release in listeners with flat hearing loss: effects of masker fluctuation rate on identification scores and phonetic feature reception.Int J Audiol. 2006 Sep; 45(9):487-95.IJ
Consonant identification was measured for a stationary and amplitude-modulated noise masker in four listeners with flat cochlear hearing loss, and four age-matched normal-hearing listeners. The masker modulation rate was systematically varied between 2 and 128 Hz. Masking release (MR), that is better identification performance in fluctuating, than in stationary noise, was highest in a masker fluctuating at 8-16 Hz in all normal-hearing listeners. In comparison, MR was only observed in two out of the four impaired listeners. In these listeners, MR was poorer than normal, and peaked at lower rates, that is 2 or 8 Hz. MR corresponded to increased reception of information for voicing, place, and manner between 2 and 64 Hz in all normal-hearing listeners. In impaired listeners, increased reception of information was mainly observed for manner, and mainly reduced for place, but these differences were not significant. For all phonetic features, MR was observed at lower masker fluctuation rates (< or =32 Hz) than in normal-hearing listeners. This study therefore shows that cochlear damage affects MR, both quantitatively and qualitatively.