Intensity-discrimination thresholds were measured for a 25-ms, 6-kHz pure tone for pedestal levels from 40 to 90 dB sound pressure level (SPL) with and without a forward masker (100-ms narrowband Gaussian noise, N0=70 dB). When the masker was present, the masker and probe were separated by 100 ms of silence. Unmasked and masked thresholds were measured in a two-interval monaural procedure and, separately, in a single-interval interaural procedure in which the pedestal and incremented pedestals were presented simultaneously to opposite ears. While the monaural thresholds were elevated markedly by the forward masker for mid-level pedestals, interaural thresholds were nearly unaffected by the masker across pedestal levels. The results argue against the notion that the monaural elevation in forward-masked thresholds is due to degraded encoding of intensity information at early stages of auditory processing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Research Grant No. R01 DC0 0683 from the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders, National Institute of Health.