Compared to notionally steady-state noise, modulated maskers provide a perceptual benefit for speech recognition, in part due to preserved speech information during the amplitude dips of the masker. However, overlap in the modulation spectrum between the target speech and the competing modulated masker may potentially result in modulation masking, and thereby offset the release from energetic masking. The current study investigated masking release provided by single-talker modulated noise. The overlap in the modulation spectra of the target speech and the modulated noise masker was varied through time compression or expansion of the competing masker. Younger normal hearing adults listened to sentences that were unprocessed or noise vocoded to primarily limit speech recognition to the preserved temporal envelope cues. For unprocessed speech, results demonstrated improved performance with masker modulation spectrum shifted up or down compared to the target modulation spectrum, except for the most extreme time expansion. For vocoded speech, significant masking release was observed with the slowest masker rate. Perceptual results combined with acoustic analyses of the preserved glimpses of the target speech suggest contributions of modulation masking and cognitive-linguistic processing as factors contributing to performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics