The effects of hearing impairment on the perception of binaural-pitch stimuli were investigated. Several experiments were performed with normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners, including detection and discrimination of binaural pitch, and melody recognition using different types of binaural pitches. For the normal-hearing listeners, all types of binaural pitches could be perceived immediately and were musical. The hearing-impaired listeners could be divided into three groups based on their results: (a) some perceived all types of binaural pitches, but with decreased salience or musicality compared to normal-hearing listeners; (b) some could only perceive the strongest pitch types; (c) some were unable to perceive any binaural pitch at all. The performance of the listeners was not correlated with audibility. Additional experiments investigated the correlation between performance in binaural-pitch perception and performance in measures of spectral and temporal resolution. Reduced frequency discrimination appeared to be linked to poorer melody recognition skills. Reduced frequency selectivity was also found to impede the perception of binaural-pitch stimuli. Overall, binaural-pitch stimuli might be very useful tools within clinical diagnostics for detecting specific deficiencies in the auditory system.
- Melody recognition
- Spectral and temporal resolution
- Auditory modeling
- Binaural pitch
- Hearing impairment