Spectrum resolving power of hearing: measurements, baselines, and influence of maskers

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Alexander Ya. Supin *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alexander Ya. Supin | alex_supin@mail.ru


Contemporary methods of measurement of frequency tuning in the auditory system are reviewed. Most of them are based on the frequency-selective masking paradigm and require multi-point measurements (a number of masked thresholds should be measured to obtain a single frequency-tuning estimate). Therefore, they are rarely used for practical needs. As an alternative approach, frequency-selective properties of the auditory system may be investigated using probes with complex frequency spectrum patterns, in particular, rippled noise that is characterized by a spectrum with periodically alternating maxima and minima. The maximal ripple density discriminated by the auditory system is  a convenient measure of the spectrum resolving power (SRP). To find the highest resolvable ripple density, a phase-reversal test has been suggested. Using this technique, normal SRP, its dependence on probe center frequency, spectrum contrast, and probe level were measured. The results were not entirely predictable by frequency-tuning data obtained by masking methods. SRP is influenced by maskers, with on- and off-frequency maskers influencing SRP very differently. Dichotic separation of the probe and masker results in almost complete release of SRP from influence of maskers.

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