Some Problems in the Measurement of the Frequency-Resolving Ability of Hearing

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Despite the detailed development of masking methods for measurement of the frequency selectivity of hearing, these measurements are hardly used for diagnostic purposes because they are time-consuming and because of the uncertain extrapolation of the results to the perception of complex spectral patterns. A method for the direct measurement of the spectral resolving ability of hearing using test signals with rippled spectra is proposed. These measurements showed 1) that the resolving ability of the auditory system in terms of discriminating complex spectra is greater than that suggested by the acuity of auditory frequency filters; 2) that changes in the acuity of frequency auditory filters associated with sound intensity hardly affect the ability to resolve complex spectra; 3) that the effects of interference on frequency-resolving ability do not lead to decreases in the spectral contrast of signals due to superimposition of noise.

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