A method for relating loudness-matching and intensity-discrimination data

R. S. Schlauch, C. C. Wier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A method that allows direct comparisons between pure-tone loudness-matching and intensity-discrimination data in normal and hearing-impaired listeners is described. This method makes a minimal number of assumptions about the relations between loudness perception and intensity-discrimination performance. Loudness is considered to be related to overall, perceived stimulus magnitude and intensity-discrimination performance is considered to reflect the accuracy with which a loudness judgment can be made. Because pure-tone intensity-discrimination performance varies as a function of stimulus level in normal ears, the standard level required to produce a particular difference limen in an impaired ear can be inferred from normal-ear intensity-discrimination data. Thus, plotting standard levels yielding normal difference limens as a function of standard levels yielding the equivalent sized difference limens from a threshold-shifted ear produces a function directly comparable to loudness recruitment functions. If loudness-growth and intensity-difference limens were tightly coupled in threshold-shifted ears, then stimuli that yield equal size difference limens would be equally loud. This relation was tested by obtaining loudness-matching and intensity-discrimination data from normal-hearing listeners with thresholds shifted by a wideband noise and hearing-impaired listeners with cochlear-type hearing losses. The results from these listeners show similarities between the traditional loudness-recruitment functions and 'intensity-recruitment' functions derived from the assumed relation between the two measures. The primary difference between the functions is at low and moderate sensation levels where loudness grows at a more rapid rate than the difference limen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Speech and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987


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