Gaussian noise simultaneous maskers yield higher masked thresholds for pure tones than low-fluctuation noise simultaneous maskers for listeners with normal hearing. This increased masking effectiveness is thought to be due to inherent fluctuations in the temporal envelope of Gaussian noise, but effects of fluctuating forward maskers are unknown. Because differences in forward masking due to age and hearing loss are known, the current study assessed effects of masker envelope fluctuations for forward maskers in younger and older adults with normal hearing and older adults with hearing loss. Detection thresholds were measured in these three participant groups for a pure-tone probe in quiet and in Gaussian and low-fluctuation noise forward maskers with either 1 or 1/3 equivalent rectangular bandwidths. Higher masked thresholds were obtained for forward maskers with greater inherent envelope fluctuations for younger adults with normal hearing. This increased effectiveness of highly fluctuating forward maskers was similar for older adults with normal and impaired hearing. Because differences in recovery from forward masking between listeners with normal and impaired hearing may relate to differences in cochlear nonlinearities, these results suggest that mechanisms other than cochlear nonlinearities may be responsible for recovery from rapid masker envelope fluctuations.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Acoustical Society of America.