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The Effect of Interleaved Filters on Normal Hearing Listeners’ Perception of Binaural Cues

Aronoff, Justin M.1; Amano-Kusumoto, Akiko2; Itoh, Motokuni2,3; Soli, Sigfrid D.2

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000060
Brief Reports

Objectives: Hearing-impaired individuals often have difficulty in noisy environments. Interleaved filters, where signals from neighboring frequency regions are sent to opposite ears, may benefit those individuals but may also reduce the benefits of spatial cues. This study investigated the effect of interleaved filters on the use of spatial cues.

Design: Normal-hearing subjects’ sound localization abilities were tested with and without interleaved filters.

Results: Participants’ localization performance was worse with interleaved filters but better than chance. Interleaving in high-frequency regions primarily affected interaural level difference cues, and interleaving in low-frequency regions primarily affected interaural time difference cues.

Conclusions: Interleaved filters reduced but did not eliminate the benefits of spatial cues. The effect was dependent on the frequency region they were used in, indicating that it may be possible to use interleaved filters in a subset of frequency regions to selectively preserve different binaural cues.

Hearing impaired individuals often have difficulty in noisy environments because of reduced spectral resolution. Interleaved filters, where information from neighboring frequency regions is sent to opposite ears, may benefit those individuals by reducing the effects of the spread of masking, but it may also reduce the benefits of spatial cues. Normal hearing subjects were tested with interleaved filters on sound localization. Interleaved filters reduced but did not eliminate localization abilities. The impact was dependent on the frequency region they were used in, indicating that it may be possible to selectively preserve different binaural cues.

1Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA; 2Human Communication Science and Devices, House Research Institute, Los Angeles, California, USA; and 3Hearing Instruments Business Unit, Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd, Yokohama, Japan.

The authors declare no other conflict of interest.

Address for correspondence: Justin Aronoff, Speech and Hearing Science Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 901 S 6th Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA. E-mail: jaronoff@illinois.edu

Received April 18, 2013; accepted April 5, 2014.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins