The effect of overall level on sensitivity to interaural differences of time and level at high frequencies.


For high-frequency complex stimuli, detection thresholds for envelope-based interaural time differences (ITDs) decrease with overall level. Substantial heterogeneity is, however, evident among the findings concerning the rate at which thresholds decline with level. This study investigated factors affecting the influence of overall level on threshold ITDs. Thresholds were measured as a function of overall level for 4-kHz-centered "targets" in three experiments focusing, respectively, on stimulus-type (sinusoidally amplitude-modulated or "transposed" tones), modulation frequency, and details concerning low-pass noise used to mask low-frequency distortion products. Results indicated that (1) log-ITD thresholds decreased linearly with overall level; (2) slopes relating log-ITD thresholds to level did not depend significantly on stimulus type; (3) lower modulation frequencies produced greater dependencies of thresholds on overall level than did higher modulation frequencies; (4) the effect of overall level on threshold-ITDs was independent of the interaural configuration and levels of the low-pass noise maskers tested; (5) synchronously gating the low-pass noise and target produced a greater dependency of thresholds on the overall level of the target than did continuous or temporally "fringed" presentation of the noise. A fourth experiment showed that threshold interaural level differences were somewhat less affected by changes in overall level than were threshold ITDs.

DOI: 10.1121/1.4807827