Effects of age on concurrent vowel perception in acoustic and simulated electroacoustic hearing

Kathryn H. Arehart, Pamela E. Souza, Ramesh Kumar Muralimanohar, Christi Wise Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: In this study, the authors investigated the effects of age on the use of fundamental frequency differences (ΔF0) in the perception of competing synthesized vowels in simulations of electroacoustic and cochlear-implant hearing. Method: Twelve younger listeners with normal hearing and 13 older listeners with (near) normal hearing were evaluated in their use of ΔF0 in the perception of competing synthesized vowels for 3 conditions: unprocessed synthesized vowels (UNP), envelope-vocoded synthesized vowels that simulated a cochlear implant (VOC), and synthesized vowels processed to simulate electroacoustic stimulation (EAS) hearing. Tasks included (a) multiplicity, which required listeners to identify whether a stimulus contained 1 or 2 sounds and (b) double-vowel identification, which required listeners to attach phonemic labels to the competing synthesized vowels. Results: Multiplicity perception was facilitated by ΔF0 in UNP and EAS but not in VOC, with no age-related deficits evident. Double-vowel identification was facilitated by ΔF0, with ΔF 0 benefit largest in UNP, reduced in EAS, and absent in VOC. Age adversely affected overall identification and ΔF0 benefit on the double-vowel task. Conclusions: Some but not all older listeners derived ΔF0 benefit in EAS hearing. This variability may partly be due to how listeners are able to draw on higher-level processing resources in extracting and integrating cues in EAS hearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-210
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


  • Aging
  • Competing speech perception
  • Electroacoustic hearing
  • Envelope and fine structure perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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