Effect of stimulus bandwidth on the perception of /s/ in normal- and hearing-impaired children and adults

P. G. Stelmachowicz, A. L. Pittman, B. M. Hoover, D. E. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Recent studies with adults have suggested that amplification at 4 kHz and above fails to improve speech recognition and may even degrade performance when high-frequency thresholds exceed 50-60 dB HL. This study examined the extent to which high frequencies can provide useful information for fricative perception for normal-hearing and hearing-impaired children and adults. Eighty subjects (20 per group) participated. Nonsense syllables containing the phonemes /s/,/f/, and /θ/, produced by a male, female, and child talker, were low-pass filtered at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 kHz. Frequency shaping was provided for the hearing-impaired subjects only. Results revealed significant differences in recognition between the four groups of subjects. Specifically, both groups of children performed more poorly than their adult counterparts at similar bandwidths. Likewise, both hearing-impaired groups performed more poorly than their normal-hearing counterparts. In addition, significant talker effects for /s/ were observed. For the male talker, optimum performance was reached at a bandwidth of approximately 4-5 kHz, whereas optimum performance for the female and child talkers did not occur until a bandwidth of 9 kHz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2183-2190
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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