Frequency selectivity of tonal language native speakers probed by suppression tuning curves of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions

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Abstract

Native acquisition of a tonal language (TL) is related to enhanced abilities of pitch perception and production, compared to non-tonal language (NTL) native speakers. Moreover, differences in brain responses to both linguistically relevant and non-relevant pitch changes have been described in TL native speakers. It is so far unclear to which extent differences are present at the peripheral processing level of the cochlea. To determine possible differences in cochlear frequency selectivity between Asian TL speakers and Caucasian NTL speakers, suppression tuning curves (STCs) of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) were examined in both groups. By presenting pure tones, SOAE levels were suppressed and STCs were derived. SOAEs with center frequencies higher than 4.5 kHz were recorded only in female TL native speakers, which correlated with better high-frequency tone detection thresholds. The suppression thresholds at the tip of the STC and filter quality coefficient Q (10dB) did not differ significantly between both language groups. Thus, the characteristics of the STCs of SOAEs do not support the presence of differences in peripheral auditory processing between TL and NTL native speakers. (C) 2020TheAuthor(s). PublishedbyElsevierB.V.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108100
Pages (from-to)108100
Number of pages8
JournalHearing Research
Volume398
Early online date2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2020

Keywords

  • Auditory
  • Frequency selectivity
  • Spontaneous otoacoustic emission
  • Suppression
  • Tonal language
  • COCHLEAR NUCLEUS MAGNOCELLULARIS
  • HUMAN BRAIN-STEM
  • ABSOLUTE PITCH
  • AUDITORY-NERVE
  • BARN OWL
  • SPEECH
  • PERCEPTION
  • EXPERIENCE
  • MUSIC
  • CORTEX

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