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Effects of Masking Noise on the Representation of Vowel Spectra in the Auditory Nerve

  • Herbert F. Voigt
  • Murray B. Sachs
  • Eric D. Young

Abstract

Steady-state vowels can be discriminated in background noise at signal to noise ratios of less than -15 dB (Dewson, 1968). Thus, the information relating to the spectrum of a vowel stimulus which is contained in the firing patterns of the ensemble of auditory-nerve fibers must remain when the vowels are presented in background noise. Spectral features may be encoded in auditory-nerve discharge patterns in at least two ways: One in terms of the distribution of average discharge rate as a function of fibers’ characteristic frequencies (CF) (rate-place representation, Sachs and Young, 1979), and the other in terms of temporal or phase-locked responses (temporal-place representation, Young and Sachs, 1979). We have shown previously (Young and Sachs, 1979) that the temporal-place code provides a more robust representation of vowel formant frequencies than does the rate-place code. In this paper we shall compare the effects of broad-band noise on these two representations of the spectrum of the vowel /ε/.

Keywords

Auditory Nerve Masking Noise Spontaneous Rate Average Discharge Rate Vowel Formant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Dewson, J. H., 1968, Efferent olivocochlear bundle: Some relationships to stimulus discrimination in noise, J. Neurophysiol., 31: 122–130.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Kiang, N. Y. S. and Moxon, E. C., 1974, Tails of tuning curves of auditory-nerve fibers, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 55: 620–630.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert F. Voigt
    • 1
  • Murray B. Sachs
    • 1
  • Eric D. Young
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Biomedical EngineeringThe Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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