Level discrimination of single tones in a multitone complex by normal- hearing and hearing-impaired listeners

Karen A. Doherty, Robert A. Lutfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A conditional-on-a-single-stimulus (COSS) analysis procedure [B. G. Berg, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 86, 1743-1746 (1989)] was used to estimate how well normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners selectively attend to individual spectral components of a broadband signal in a level discrimination task. On each trial, two multitone complexes consisting of six octave frequencies from 250 to 8000 Hz were presented to listeners. The levels of the individual tones were chosen independently and at random on each presentation. The target tone was selected, within a block of trials, as the 250-, 1000-, or 4000-Hz component. On each trial, listeners were asked to indicate which of the two complex sounds contained the higher level target. As a group, normal-hearing listeners exhibited greater selectivity than hearing-impaired listeners to the 250-Hz target, while hearing-impaired listeners showed greater selectivity than normal-hearing listeners to the 4000-Hz target, which is in the region of their hearing loss. Both groups of listeners displayed large variability in their ability to selectively weight the 1000-Hz target. Trial-by-trial analysis showed a decrease in weighting efficiency with increasing frequency for normal-hearing listeners, but a relatively constant weighting efficiency across frequency for hearing- impaired listeners. Interestingly, hearing-impaired listeners selectively weighted the 4000-Hz target, which was in the region of their hearing loss, more efficiently than did the normal-hearing listeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1831-1840
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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