Supra-threshold perception and neural representation of tones presented in noise in conditions of masking release

Katharina Egger, Torsten Dau, Bastian Epp

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Abstract

The neural representation and perceptual salience of tonal signals presented in different noise maskers were investigated. The properties of the maskers and signals were varied such that they produced different amounts of either monaural masking release, binaural masking release, or a combination of both. The signals were then presented at different levels above their corresponding masked thresholds and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) were measured. It was found that, independent of the masking condition, the amplitude of the P2 component of the AEP was similar for the same stimulus levels above masked threshold, suggesting that both monaural and binaural effects of masking release were represented at the level of the auditory pathway where P2 is generated. The perceptual salience of the signal was evaluated at equal levels above masked threshold using a rating task. In contrast to the electrophysiological findings, the subjective ratings of the perceptual signal salience were less consistent with the signal level above masked threshold and varied strongly across listeners and masking conditions. Overall, the results from the present study suggest that the P2 amplitude of the AEP represents an objective indicator of the audibility of a target signal in the presence of complex acoustic maskers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0222804
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume14
Issue number10
Number of pages18
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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