ERIC Number: EJ1107492
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
On Older Listeners' Ability to Perceive Dynamic Pitch
Shen, Jing; Wright, Richard; Souza, Pamela E.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v59 n3 p572-582 Jun 2016
Purpose: Natural speech comes with variation in pitch, which serves as an important cue for speech recognition. The present study investigated older listeners' dynamic pitch perception with a focus on interindividual variability. In particular, we asked whether some of the older listeners' inability to perceive dynamic pitch stems from the higher susceptibility to the interference from formant changes. Method: A total of 22 older listeners and 21 younger controls with at least near-typical hearing were tested on dynamic pitch identification and discrimination tasks using synthetic monophthong and diphthong vowels. Results: The older listeners' ability to detect changes in pitch varied substantially, even when musical and linguistic experiences were controlled. The influence of formant patterns on dynamic pitch perception was evident in both groups of listeners. Overall, strong pitch contours (i.e., more dynamic) were perceived better than weak pitch contours (i.e., more monotonic), particularly with rising pitch patterns. Conclusions: The findings are in accordance with the literature demonstrating some older individuals' difficulty perceiving dynamic pitch cues in speech. Moreover, they suggest that this problem may be prominent when the dynamic pitch is carried by natural speech and when the pitch contour is not strong.
Descriptors: Cues, Intonation, Tone Languages, Older Adults, Listening Comprehension, Speech, Recognition (Psychology), Auditory Perception, Vowels
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01DC60014|R01DC12289