Effects of Noise and Reverberation on the Precedence Effect in Listeners with Normal Hearing and Impaired Hearing

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of reverberation and noise on the precedence effect in listeners with hearing loss. Lag burst thresholds (LBTs) for 4-ms noise bursts were obtained for 2 groups of participants: impaired hearing and normal hearing. Data were collected in reverberant and anechoic environments in quiet and noise, at sensation levels of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 dB. Results indicated a significant effect of reverberation on LBTs for both participant groups. LBTs increased with sensation level in the reverberant environment and decreased with increasing sensation level in the anechoic environment. There was no effect of hearing loss on LBTs. When the change in LBT due to noise was compared, the effect of noise depended on group and environment, with a greater effect of noise on the performance of listeners with impaired hearing. It is likely that the ability to fuse direct sounds and early reflections is degraded in listeners with impaired hearing and that this contributes to the difficulties experienced by these listeners in reverberation and noise.



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