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Spectral and level effects in noise-on-tone suppression

, : Spectral and level effects in noise-on-tone suppression. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 81(4): 1078-1084

The effective internal level of a 1-kHz tone at 50 dB SPL was estimated by measuring the forward masking produced on a 10-ms signal tone of the same frequency. Noise containing a spectral notch was then added to the masker tone, and its influence on the effective level of the tone was measured with a variety of noise levels, notch widths, and notch shapes. In experiment 1, the masker tone was centered in the spectral notch, itself centered in a 2-kHz band of noise. As the spectrum level in the noise passbands increased from 6 dB/Hz to 36 dB/Hz, signal threshold decreased, indicating a decrease in masking by the masker tone. This "unmasking" effect of the noise was attributed to suppression of the masker tone by the components in the noise. Unmasking was greatest with the narrowest spectral notch (250 Hz), and decreased to zero as the notch widened to 1500 Hz. Compared to its level when presented alone, the effective internal level of the masker tone could be reduced by up to 30 dB (250-Hz notch, 36 dB/Hz). The relative suppressive strength of individual noise components was estimated in experiment 2, in which the 1-kHz masker tone was located at one edge of a spectral notch, rather than in the center. Noise spectrum level was fixed at 16 dB/Hz. As notch width decreased to zero, on either the high-frequency or low-frequency side of the masker tone, its effective internal level was again reduced by approximately 30 dB. In a tentative analysis, the first derivative of the smoothed threshold function was taken, to provide an estimate of the relative contributions to suppression at 1 kHz of noise components between 250 and 1740 Hz.

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Accession: 041408723

PMID: 3571724

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