Better-ear glimpsing efficiency with symmetrically-placed interfering talkers

Douglas S. Brungart*, Nandini Iyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


In listening tasks where a target speech signal is spatially separated from a masking voice, listeners can often gain a substantial advantage in performance by attending to the ear with the better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, this better-ear strategy becomes much more complicated when a target talker located in front of the listener is masked by interfering talkers positioned at symmetric locations to the left and right of the target. When this happens, there are no long-term SNR advantages at either ear and the only binaural SNR advantages available are the result of complicated better-ear glimpses that vary as a function of frequency and rapidly switch back and forth between the two ears according to the natural fluctuations in the relative levels of the two masking voices. In this study, a signal processing technique was used to take the better-ear glimpses that would ordinarily be randomly distributed across the two ears in a binaural speech signal and move them all into the same ear. This resulted in a monaural signal that contained all the information available to an ideal listener using an optimal binaural glimpsing strategy. Speech intelligibility was measured with these optimized monaural stimuli and compared to performance with unprocessed binaural speech stimuli. Performance was similar in these two conditions, suggesting that listeners with normal hearing are able to efficiently extract information from better-ear glimpses that fluctuate rapidly across frequency and across the two ears.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2545-2556
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


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