The processes by which we hear auditory events in most everyday acoustic environments that produce ndirect sound (e.g. echoes, reflections, reverberation) are complex and not well understood. Under certain circumstances, indirect sound can facilitate speech communication and certain aspects of sound localization, n other circumstances, however, indirect sound can produce deficits in these and other abilities that can be particularly large for individuals with hearing impairment. Recent results have demonstrated that some aspects of indirect sound processing appear to be affected by previous exposure to the acoustic environment, which suggests a form of perceptual adaptation. Although these adaptation effects can be substantial for situations with a single echo, the effects have not been evaluated in more realistic acoustic environments with complex patterns of indirect sound resulting from multiple echoes and reverberation. The ong-term goal of this project is a complete understanding of the mechanisms and the potentially adaptive processes that subserve auditory localization and communication in everyday acoustic environments with complex patterns of indirect sound and the potential impact of hearing loss on these processes. This goal will be addressed by the following Specific Aims:
Specific Aim 1 : Demonstrate and quantify environment- adaptation effects on sound localization and speech intelligibility for a single realistic acoustical environment configuration.
Specific Aim 2 : Determine the sensitivity of environment-adaptation effects to particular environments and source/listener configurations.
Specific Aim 3 : Quantify the time course of environment- adaptation effects.
Specific Aim 4 : Quantify the effects of source or listener motion on environment- adaptation effects. The research proposed to address these aims uses state-of-the-art virtual acoustic environment simulation techniques for auditory stimulus control that enable testing of listening situations that would not be possible in real environments. Knowledge gained from these studies will lead to an improved understanding of a significant public health problem: the impairment of communication and localization in acoustically reflective or reverberant environments resulting from hearing loss. This knowledge may facilitate improvements in both assistive technologies (signal processing algorithms within hearing aids and cochlear implants) and the acoustical design of listening environments. KEYWORDS: Sound Localization, Spatial Hearing, Speech Intelligibility, Room Acoustics, Adaptation, Virtual Auditory Space.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Auditory System Study Section (AUD)
Program Officer
Donahue, Amy
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University of Louisville
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Reinhart, Paul; Zahorik, Pavel; Souza, Pamela E (2017) Effects of reverberation, background talker number, and compression release time on signal-to-noise ratio. J Acoust Soc Am 142:EL130
Stilp, Christian E; Anderson, Paul W; Assgari, Ashley A et al. (2016) Speech perception adjusts to stable spectrotemporal properties of the listening environment. Hear Res 341:168-178
Srinivasan, Nirmal Kumar; Zahorik, Pavel (2014) Enhancement of speech intelligibility in reverberant rooms: role of amplitude envelope and temporal fine structure. J Acoust Soc Am 135:EL239-45
Srinivasan, Nirmal Kumar; Zahorik, Pavel (2013) Prior listening exposure to a reverberant room improves open-set intelligibility of high-variability sentences. J Acoust Soc Am 133:EL33-9
Brandewie, Eugene; Zahorik, Pavel (2013) Time course of a perceptual enhancement effect for noise-masked speech in reverberant environments. J Acoust Soc Am 134:EL265-70
Zahorik, Pavel; Anderson, Paul W (2013) Amplitude modulation detection by human listeners in reverberant sound fields: Effects of prior listening exposure. Proc Meet Acoust 19:
Zahorik, Pavel; Kim, Duck O; Kuwada, Shigeyuki et al. (2012) Amplitude modulation detection by human listeners in reverberant sound fields: Carrier bandwidth effects and binaural versus monaural comparison. Proc Meet Acoust 15:
Srinivasan, Nirmal Kumar; Zahorik, Pavel (2012) Phonemic restoration effect reversed in a reverberant room. J Acoust Soc Am 131:EL28-34
Zahorik, Pavel; Kim, Duck O; Kuwada, Shigeyuki et al. (2011) Amplitude modulation detection by human listeners in sound fields. Proc Meet Acoust 12:50005-50010
Brandewie, Eugene; Zahorik, Pavel (2011) Adaptation to Room Acoustics Using the Modified Rhyme Test. Proc Meet Acoust 129:2487

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