What is it about?

Binaural (two-eared) hearing experiments are not easy for everyone. Interaural correlation change detection (i.e., across-ear detection of signal differences) for narrowband noises is such a task. We found that while some naive listeners have excellent sensitivity to interaural correlation change for low-frequency narrowband noises (at 500 Hz), comparable to the best listeners reported in the literature. We also found that some listeners had very little to no sensitivity. In addition, no naive listener could perform the task at a high frequency (4000 Hz), despite the fact that trained listeners can do this.

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Why is it important?

Binaural hearing helps with speech understanding in noise by organizing auditory scenes with multiple sources. Highly controlled stimuli that do not naturally occur may be good at probing binaural sensitivity in the most sensitive listeners, but may not be for the poorer and/or untrained listeners.


Much of the binaural literature contains expert listeners. Their performance may not generalize to the broader population. This result may also explain individual variability on a broader range binaural hearing tasks, including sounds and tasks that occur in real life.

Dr. Matthew J Goupell
University System of Maryland

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Untrained listeners experience difficulty detecting interaural correlation changes in narrowband noises, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, July 2015, Acoustical Society of America (ASA), DOI: 10.1121/1.4923014.
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