Comparing the effects of age on amplitude modulation and frequency modulation detection.

06 Jun 2018

Frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM) detection thresholds were measured at 40 dB sensation level for young (22-28 yrs) and older (44-66 yrs) listeners with normal audiograms for a carrier frequency of 500 Hz and modulation rates of 2 and 20 Hz. The number of modulation cycles, N, varied between 2 and 9. For FM detection, uninformative AM at the same rate as the FM was superimposed to disrupt excitation-pattern cues. For both groups, AM and FM detection thresholds were lower for the 2-Hz than for the 20-Hz rate, and AM and FM detection thresholds decreased with increasing N. Thresholds were higher for older than for younger listeners, especially for FM detection at 2 Hz, possibly reflecting the effect of age on the use of temporal-fine-structure cues for 2-Hz FM detection. The effect of increasing N was similar across groups for both AM and FM. However, at 20 Hz, older listeners showed a greater effect of increasing N than younger listeners for both AM and FM. The results suggest that ageing reduces sensitivity to both excitation-pattern and temporal-fine-structure cues for modulation detection, but more so for the latter, while sparing temporal integration of these cues at low modulation rates.