The importance of sound onsets in binaural hearing has been addressed in many studies, particularly at high frequencies, where the onset of the envelope may carry much of the useful binaural information. Some studies suggest that sound onsets might play a similar role in the processing of binaural cues [e.g., fine-structure interaural time differences (ITD)] at low frequencies. This study measured listeners' sensitivity to ITD and interaural level differences (ILD) present in early (i.e., onset) and late parts of 80-ms pure tones of 250-, 500-, and 1000-Hz frequency. Following previous studies, tones carried static interaural cues or dynamic cues that peaked at sound onset and diminished to zero at sound offset or vice versa. Although better thresholds were observed in static than dynamic conditions overall, ITD discrimination was especially impaired, regardless of frequency, when cues were not available at sound onset. Results for ILD followed a similar pattern at 1000Hz; at lower frequencies, ILD thresholds did not differ significantly between dynamic-cue conditions. The results support the "onset" hypothesis of Houtgast and Plomp [(1968). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 44, 807-812] for ITD discrimination, but not necessarily ILD discrimination, in low-frequency pure tones.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics