Masking release for low- and high-pass-filtered speech in the presence of noise and single-talker interference

Andrew J. Oxenham, Andrea M. Simonson

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    80 Scopus citations


    Speech intelligibility was measured for sentences presented in spectrally matched steady noise, single-talker interference, or speech-modulated noise. The stimuli were unfiltered or were low-pass (LP) (1200 Hz cutoff) or high-pass (HP) (1500 Hz cutoff) filtered. The cutoff frequencies were selected to produce equal performance in both LP and HP conditions in steady noise and to limit access to the temporal fine structure of resolved harmonics in the HP conditions. Masking release, or the improvement in performance between the steady noise and single-talker interference, was substantial with no filtering. Under LP and HP filtering, masking release was roughly equal but was much less than in unfiltered conditions. When the average F0 of the interferer was shifted lower than that of the target, similar increases in masking release were observed under LP and HP filtering. Similar LP and HP results were also obtained for the speech-modulated-noise masker. The findings are not consistent with the idea that pitch conveyed by the temporal fine structure of low-order harmonics plays a crucial role in masking release. Instead, any reduction in speech redundancy, or manipulation that increases the target-to-masker ratio necessary for intelligibility to beyond around 0 dB, may result in reduced masking release.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)457-468
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R01 DC 05216). We thank Christophe Micheyl, Neal Viemeister, and Koen Rhebergen for many useful discussions, and Christian Lorenzi, Richard Freyman, Christophe Micheyl, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. 1


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