Gap detection in school-age children and adults: Center frequency and ramp duration

Emily Buss, Heather L. Porter, Joseph W. Hall, John H. Grose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: The age at which gap detection becomes adultlike differs, depending on the stimulus characteristics. The present study evaluated whether the developmental trajectory differs as a function of stimulus frequency region or duration of the onset and offset ramps bounding the gap. Method: Thresholds were obtained for wideband noise (500–4500 Hz) with 4- or 40-ms raised-cosine ramps and for a 25-Hz-wide low-fluctuation narrowband noise centered on either 500 or 5000 Hz with 40-ms ramps. Stimuli were played continuously at 70 dB SPL, and the task was to indicate which of 3 intervals contained a gap. Listeners were 5.2- to 15.1-year-old children (n = 40) and adults (n = 10) with normal hearing. Results: Regardless of listener age, gap detection thresholds for the wideband noise tended to be lower when gaps were shaped using 4-ms rather than 40-ms ramps. Thresholds also tended to be lower for the low-fluctuation narrowband noise centered on 5000 Hz than 500 Hz. Performance reached adult levels after 11 years of age for all 4 stimuli. Maturation was not uniform across individuals, however; a subset of young children performed like adults, including some 5-year-olds. Conclusion: For these stimuli, the developmental trajectory was similar regardless of narrowband noise center frequency or wideband noise onset and offset ramp duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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