Effects of Hearing Loss on Echo Thresholds

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Objective: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of hearing loss on the perception of echoes. Design: Echo thresholds were measured for eight listeners with normal hearing and nine listeners with impaired hearing. Pairs of 4-msec noise bursts were presented to each listener with onset-to-onset delays ranging from 2 to 16 msec. Echo thresholds were obtained at signal presentation levels of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 dB SL. Results: Results revealed differences between the psychometric functions of the two subject groups. Psychometric functions of the subjects with impaired hearing indicated higher echo thresholds than for the subjects with normal hearing. In addition, echo thresholds at 10 dB SL were significantly higher than echo thresholds measured at 40 dB SL for both subject groups. Conclusion: Listeners with impaired hearing exhibit higher echo thresholds than listeners with normal hearing. The higher echo thresholds for listeners with impaired hearing may account, at least in part, for difficulty on tasks such as localization in everyday listening environments.



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