The masking-level difference and overall masker level: Restating the internal noise hypothesis

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25 Scopus citations


Recent investigations of the masking-level difference (MLD) have often involved measurement of the MLD as a function of masker level. The results show, as had earlier work, that the size of the MLD decreases as the masker level decreases. These studies have usually not considered an earlier explanation of the dependency of the MLD on masker level, that is, that additive internal noise, which is partially interaurally uncorrelated, leads to decorrelated maskers at low levels of the external masking noise. Because maskers that are decorrelated yield small MLDs, the MLD is likewise small at low masker levels. This review article shows that this explanation provides a good fit to data obtained over the past four decades. It also shows that the MLD depends less on masker level with insert phones than with supraaural phones as would be predicted by the additive internal noise explanation and the observation of lower internal noise with the use of insert phones. It is concluded, that the internal noise explanation should be considered when the MLD is measured as a function of masker level. PACS numbers: 43.66.Pn, 43.66.Dc, 43.66.Ba [NFV].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1517-1521
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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