Neural Spike-Train Analyses of the Speech-Based Envelope Power Spectrum Model

Varsha H. Rallapalli, Michael G. Heinz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Diagnosing and treating hearing impairment is challenging because people with similar degrees of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) often have different speech-recognition abilities. The speech-based envelope power spectrum model (sEPSM) has demonstrated that the signal-to-noise ratio (SNRENV) from a modulation filter bank provides a robust speech-intelligibility measure across a wider range of degraded conditions than many long-standing models. In the sEPSM, noise (N) is assumed to: (a) reduce S + N envelope power by filling in dips within clean speech (S) and (b) introduce an envelope noise floor from intrinsic fluctuations in the noise itself. While the promise of SNRENV has been demonstrated for normal-hearing listeners, it has not been thoroughly extended to hearing-impaired listeners because of limited physiological knowledge of how SNHL affects speech-in-noise envelope coding relative to noise alone. Here, envelope coding to speech-in-noise stimuli was quantified from auditory-nerve model spike trains using shuffled correlograms, which were analyzed in the modulation-frequency domain to compute modulation-band estimates of neural SNRENV. Preliminary spike-train analyses show strong similarities to the sEPSM, demonstrating feasibility of neural SNRENV computations. Results suggest that individual differences can occur based on differential degrees of outer- and inner-hair-cell dysfunction in listeners currently diagnosed into the single audiological SNHL category. The predicted acoustic-SNR dependence in individual differences suggests that the SNR-dependent rate of susceptibility could be an important metric in diagnosing individual differences. Future measurements of the neural SNRENV in animal studies with various forms of SNHL will provide valuable insight for understanding individual differences in speech-in-noise intelligibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrends in Hearing
StatePublished - Jan 18 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory nerve
  • Computational model
  • Sensorineural hearing Loss
  • Speech intelligibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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