Factors affecting the use of envelope interaural time differences in reverberation

J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Apr;133(4):2288-300. doi: 10.1121/1.4793270.


At high frequencies, interaural time differences (ITDs) are conveyed by the sound envelope. Sensitivity to envelope ITDs depends crucially on the envelope shape. Reverberation degrades the envelope shape, reducing the modulation depth of the envelope and the slope of its flanks. Reverberation also reduces the envelope interaural coherence (i.e., the similarity of the envelopes at two ears). The current study investigates the extent to which these changes affect sensitivity to envelope ITDs. The first experiment measured ITD discrimination thresholds at low and high frequencies in a simulated room. The stimulus was either a low-frequency narrowband noise or the same noise transposed to a higher frequency. The results suggest that the effect of reverberation on ITD thresholds was multiplicative. Given that the threshold without reverberation was larger for the transposed than for the low-frequency stimulus, this meant that, in absolute terms, the thresholds for the transposed stimulus showed a much greater increase due to reverberation than those for the low-frequency stimulus. Three further experiments indicated that the effect of reverberation on the envelope ITD thresholds was due to the combined effect of the reduction in the envelope modulation depth and slopes, as well as the decrease in the envelope interaural coherence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Audiometry
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Cues*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception*
  • Vibration
  • Young Adult