Effect of musical training on pitch discrimination performance in older normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners

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Hearing-impaired (HI) listeners, as well as elderly listeners, typically have a reduced ability to discriminate the fundamental frequency (F0) of complex tones compared to young normal-hearing (NH) listeners. Several studies have shown that musical training, on the other hand, leads to improved F0-discrimination performance for NH listeners. It is unclear whether a comparable effect of musical training occurs for listeners whose sensory encoding of F0 is degraded. To address this question, F0 discrimination was investigated for three groups of listeners (14 young NH, 9 older NH and 10 HI listeners), each including musicians and non-musicians, using complex tones that differed in harmonic content. Musical training significantly improved F0 discrimination for all groups of listeners, especially for complex tones containing low-numbered harmonics. In a second experiment, the sensitivity to temporal fine structure cues (TFS) was estimated in the same listeners. Although TFS cues were degraded for the two older groups of listeners, musicians showed better performance than non-musicians. Additionally, a significant correlation was obtained between F0-discrimination performance and sensitivity to TFS cues for complex tones with low and intermediate harmonic numbers. These findings suggest that musical training may enhance both sensory encoding of TFS cues and F0 discrimination in young and older listeners with or without hearing loss.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research
EditorsS. Santurette, T. Dau, J. C.-Dalsgaard, L. Tranebjærg, T. Andersen, T. Poulsen
Volume6: Adaptive Processes in Hearing
PublisherThe Danavox Jubilee Foundation
Publication date2017
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-990013-6-1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research - Hotel Nyborg Strand, Nyborg, Denmark
Duration: 23 Aug 201725 Aug 2017


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research
LocationHotel Nyborg Strand
Internet address

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