Duration threshold for identifying speech samples for different phonemes
The identification or classification of acoustic objects is important to decide in which way a sound needs to be interpreted and to rate its importance or relevance. In recent studies, it has been shown that the minimal duration of a sound, which is required for a correct identification, could be a useful audiological parameter, e.g. providing information about the hearing ability of a person. In this work, we want to investigate which cues are used by humans to classify a sound correctly as speech. For this purpose, the duration thresholds for the identification of speech samples starting with different phonemes are analyzed for elderly listeners with normal and impaired hearing. To this end, a two-alternative forced choice (2-AFC) method was used, where, as an alternative to speech, a noise signal with a matched frequency spectrum was presented. In contrast to previous studies, there were no frequency cues available and we found no correlation to the pure tone average (PTA) or speech understanding in noise. As one main conclusion, the results suggest that humans primarily exploit the temporal envelope (ENV) rather than the temporal fine structure (TFS) for the identification of short speech samples above hearing threshold and without frequency cues.
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