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Authors Jones GL, Litovsky RY
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Journal J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume: 130 Issue: 3 Pages: 1463-74
Publish Date 2011 Sep
PubMed ID 21895087
PMC ID 3188967

A mathematical formula for estimating spatial release from masking (SRM) in a cocktail party environment would be useful as a simpler alternative to computationally intensive algorithms and may enhance understanding of underlying mechanisms. The experiment presented herein was designed to provide a strong test of a model that divides SRM into contributions of asymmetry and angular separation [Bronkhorst (2000). Acustica 86, 117-128] and to examine whether that model can be extended to include speech maskers. Across masker types the contribution to SRM of angular separation of maskers from the target was found to grow at a diminishing rate as angular separation increased within the frontal hemifield, contrary to predictions of the model. Speech maskers differed from noise maskers in the overall magnitude of SRM and in the contribution of angular separation (both greater for speech). These results were used to develop a modified model that achieved good fits to data for noise maskers (ρ=0.93) and for speech maskers (ρ=0.94) while using the same functions to describe separation and asymmetry components of SRM for both masker types. These findings suggest that this approach can be used to accurately model SRM for speech maskers in addition to primarily “energetic” noise maskers.

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