Amplitude modulation detection and modulation masking in school-age children and adults

J Acoust Soc Am. 2019 Apr;145(4):2565. doi: 10.1121/1.5098950.


Two experiments were performed to better understand on- and off-frequency modulation masking in normal-hearing school-age children and adults. Experiment 1 estimated thresholds for detecting 16-, 64- or 256-Hz sinusoidal amplitude modulation (AM) imposed on a 4300-Hz pure tone. Thresholds tended to improve with age, with larger developmental effects for 64- and 256-Hz AM than 16-Hz AM. Detection of 16-Hz AM was also measured with a 1000-Hz off-frequency masker tone carrying 16-Hz AM. Off-frequency modulation masking was larger for younger than older children and adults when the masker was gated with the target, but not when the masker was continuous. Experiment 2 measured detection of 16- or 64-Hz sinusoidal AM carried on a bandpass noise with and without additional on-frequency masker AM. Children and adults demonstrated modulation masking with similar tuning to modulation rate. Rate-dependent age effects for AM detection on a pure-tone carrier are consistent with maturation of temporal resolution, an effect that may be obscured by modulation masking for noise carriers. Children were more susceptible than adults to off-frequency modulation masking for gated stimuli, consistent with maturation in the ability to listen selectively in frequency, but the children were not more susceptible to on-frequency modulation masking than adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Auditory Threshold*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perceptual Masking*
  • Sensory Gating
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Young Adult