Applicability and outcomes of a test for binaural phase sensitivity in elderly listeners
Interaural phase difference (IPD) discrimination in the binaural auditory system has been shown to be related to localization abilities and speech intelligibility in background noise. One of the tests for binaural phase sensitivity determines the highest frequency of the test tone for which an interaural phase difference of 180° is detectable (IPD-FR). This test was included in a test battery together with examination of visual and hearing abilities, balance, tactile- and motor-skills, and cognitive abilities. The IPD-FR test was conducted with an adaptive 3-AFC experiment starting with a test-tone frequency of 250 Hz. Sixty-five of 220 participants could not perform the IPD-FR task. The main predictors for inability to perform the IPD-FR task are hearing loss at 250 Hz, fluid intelligence, measurement number, and gender. A linear regression analysis revealed that the test result IPD-FR threshold is related to pure-tone thresholds at low frequencies, composite score of cognition, and composite score of tactile sensitivity, fine motor skills, and vision, as well as gender. A correlation analysis shows that the IPD-FR threshold is not related to speech recognition in non-dynamic listening conditions with speech from the front if low-frequency hearing loss is taken into account.
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