The effects of different intensity levels of background noise on dichotic listening to consonant-vowel syllables

Research Area: Research Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Dos Santos Sequeira, S; Specht, Karsten; Hämäläinen, H; Hugdahl, Kenneth
It has previously been shown that the right ear advantage in dichotic listening to consonant-vowel syllables is affected if a background noise is presented at the same time as the dichotic stimuli. What is not known is, however, if there is also an effect of varying the intensity level of the background noise. We therefore presented conversation or traffic noise background noise simultaneously with the dichotic syllable stimuli to healthy adult subjects. The intensity of the background noises varied between 50-65 dB in steps of 5 dB. The results showed that the right ear correct reports decreased, while left ear correct reports increased as a consequence of increasing background noise intensity. The effects were also stronger for the right ear, and for the traffic background noise condition, particularly at the two highest intensity levels. The results are discussed in terms of alertness and attentional mechanisms.
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