Sensitivity to angular and radial source movements as a function of acoustic complexity in normal and impaired hearing

Micha Lundbeck, Giso Grimm, Volker Hohmann, Søren Laugesen, Tobias Neher

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Abstract

In contrast to static sounds, spatially dynamic sounds have received little attention in psychoacoustic research so far. This holds true especially for acoustically complex (reverberant, multisource) conditions and impaired hearing. The current study therefore investigated the influence of reverberation and the number of concurrent sound sources on source movement detection in young normal-hearing (YNH) and elderly hearing-impaired (EHI) listeners. A listening environment based on natural environmental sounds was simulated using virtual acoustics and rendered over headphones. Both near-far (‘radial’) and left-right (‘angular’) movements of a frontal target source were considered. The acoustic complexity was varied by adding static lateral distractor sound sources as well as reverberation. Acoustic analyses confirmed the expected changes in stimulus features that are thought to underlie radial and angular source movements under anechoic conditions and suggested a special role of monaural spectral changes under reverberant conditions. Analyses of the detection thresholds showed that, with the exception of the single-source scenarios, the EHI group was less sensitive to source movements than the YNH group, despite adequate stimulus audibility. Adding static sound sources clearly impaired the detectability of angular source movements for the EHI (but not the YNH) group. Reverberation, on the other hand, clearly impaired radial source movement detection for the EHI (but not the YNH) listeners. These results illustrate the feasibility of studying factors related to auditory movement perception with the help of the developed test setup.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
Volume21
Pages (from-to)1-14
ISSN2331-2165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Psychoacoustics
  • Hearing loss
  • Auditory movement perception
  • Minimum audible movement angle
  • distance perception

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