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The Relationship Between Concurrent Speech Segregation, Pitch-Based Streaming of Vowel Sequences, and Frequency Selectivity

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Simultaneous and sequential segregation form the basis of auditory scene analysis and are likely involved in concurrent speech segregation. However, previous work showed that speech-in-noise perception was uncorrelated with simultaneous segregation, whereas it appeared to be related to the pure-tone fusion threshold of sequential streaming. The current study aimed to clarify the relationships between pitch-based speech-in-speech segregation, pitch-based streaming, and frequency selectivity. Twenty-three listeners with close to normal hearing were involved. Speech-in-speech perception was measured using words presented in a time-reversed single talker background, with various pitch differences between target and masker. Streaming performance was measured using an objective order-naming task on vowel sequences. Auditory filter widths were derived using a notch-noise method. Results showed a correlation between the effect of pitch on speech-in-speech perception and the effect of pitch on streaming performance. However, frequency selectivity was found to correlate with average speech-in-speech perception but not with streaming, and only in the region of the second formant. These latter results are consistent with the hypothesis that pitch-based streaming probably relies on pitch discrimination, which is only poorly correlated to frequency selectivity. Further, these results suggest that mild impairments in frequency selectivity do not systematically impair pitch-based streaming.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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