On dynamic pitch benefit for speech recognition in speech masker

Jing Shen*, Pamela E. Souza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Previous work demonstrated that dynamic pitch (i.e., pitch variation in speech) aids speech recognition in various types of noises. While this finding suggests dynamic pitch enhancement in target speech can benefit speech recognition in noise, it is of importance to know what noise characteristics affect dynamic pitch benefit, and who will benefit from enhanced dynamic pitch cues. Following our recent finding that temporal modulation in noise influences dynamic pitch benefit, we examined the effect of speech masker characteristics on dynamic pitch benefit. Specifically, the first goal of the study was to test the hypothesis that dynamic pitch benefit varies depending on the availability of pitch cues in the masker and the intelligibility of masker. The second goal of this study was to investigate whether older listeners as a group can benefit from dynamic pitch for speech recognition in speech maskers. In addition, individual factors of hearing loss and working memory capacity were examined for their impact on older listeners' dynamic pitch benefit. Twenty-three younger listeners with normal hearing and 37 older listeners with varying levels of hearing sensitivity participated the study, in which speech reception thresholds were measured with sentences in speech maskers. While we did not find an effect of masker characteristics on dynamic pitch benefit, the results showed older listeners can benefit from dynamic pitch for recognizing speech in speech maskers. The data also suggest that among those older listeners with hearing loss, dynamic pitch benefit is stronger for individuals with higher working memory capacity. This can be attributed to their ability to exploit facilitated lexical access in processing of degraded speech signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1967
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 22 2018


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Hearing loss
  • Pitch perception
  • Speech recognition in noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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