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Speech Localization

Human sound localization of speech stimuli was tested using an accurate head-pointing task in three sound conditions: (i) broadband (22 Hz to 16 kHz); (ii) low-pass (22 Hz to 8 kHz); (iii) spectrally-smeared broadband. The experiments were conducted in virtual auditory space (VAS) so that reduced frequency selectivity (a consequence of cochlear hearing loss that has effects similar to spectral smearing) could be simulated in normally-hearing listeners. Broadband noise localization provided a control. Results show that broadband speech is not localized as accurately as broadband noise and that there is a significant reduction in localization accuracy for both the low-pass and spectrally-smeared sound conditions. The data show that accurate high-frequency spectral information is important for speech localization.

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