Temporal modulation transfer functions in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners

Sid P. Bacon, Neal F Viemeister

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209 Scopus citations


Modulation thresholds for sinusoidally amplitude-modulated broadband noise were obtained from normal-hearing and sensorineural hearing-impaired listeners as a function of modulation frequency. The resulting temporal modulation transfer functions (TMTFs) indicated that the impaired listeners were generally less sensitive than the normals to amplitude modulation and, unlike previously published data from normal-hearing listeners, TMTFs in the impaired listeners were level dependent: sensitivity to modulation, particularly for modulation frequencies greater than 100 Hz, decreased with decreases in level. TMTFs were also obtained with band-limited noise from the normal-hearing listeners: the noise was low-pass filtered at 1.6 kHz after modulation and was generally presented with a 1.6-kHz high-pass masker. The TMTFs in the low-pass condition were similar to the TMTFs obtained with broadband noise from the impaired listeners, suggesting that the impaired temporal processing in the hearing-impaired listeners is a result of a narrower effective, 'internal' bandwidth. Increment thresholds for continuous broadband and low-pass noise were obtained in conditions similar to those in which TMTFs were obtained. In general, a similar power-law relationship between modulation threshold and increment threshold was found to exist for both the normal-hearing and the hearing-impaired listeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985


  • Hearing impairment
  • Increment thresholds
  • Modulation thresholds
  • Temporal modulation transfer function (TMTF)
  • Temporal processing


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