Temporal integration of loudness in listeners with hearing losses of primarily cochlear origin

Søren Buus, Mary Florentine, Torben Poulsen

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    To investigate how hearing loss of primarily cochlear origin affects the loudness of brief tones, loudness matches between 5- and 200-ms tones were obtained as a function of level for 15 listeners with cochlear impairments and for seven age-matched controls. Three frequencies, usually 0.5, 1, and 4 kHz, were tested in each listener using a two-interval, two-alternative forced-choice (2I, 2AFC) paradigm with a roving-level, up–down adaptive procedure. Results for the normal listeners generally were consistent with published data [e.g., , J. Acoust Soc. Am. 99, 1633–1644 (1996)]. The amount of temporal integration—defined as the level difference between equally loud short and long tones—varied nonmonotonically with level and was largest at moderate levels. No consistent effect of frequency was apparent. The impaired listeners varied widely, but most showed a clear effect of level on the amount of temporal integration. Overall, their results appear consistent with expectations based on knowledge of the general properties of their loudness-growth functions and the equal-loudness-ratio hypothesis, which states that the loudness ratio between equal-SPL long and brief tones is the same at all SPLs. The impaired listeners' amounts of temporal integration at high SPLs often were larger than normal, although it was reduced near threshold. When evaluated at equal SLs, the amount of temporal integration well above threshold usually was in the low end of the normal range. Two listeners with abrupt high-frequency hearing losses (slopes >50 dB/octave) showed larger-than-normal maximal amounts of temporal integration (40 to 50 dB). This finding is consistent with the shallow loudness functions predicted by our excitation-pattern model for impaired listeners [, in Modeling Sensorineural Hearing Loss, edited by W. Jesteadt (Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, 1997), pp. 187–198]. Loudness functions derived from impaired listeners' temporal-integration functions indicate that restoration of loudness in listeners with cochlear hearing loss usually will require the same gain whether the sound is short or long. ©1999 Acoustical Society of America.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAcoustical Society of America. Journal
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)3464-3480
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

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    Copyright (1999) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America.


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