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Tuning curve

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A tuning curve (also called frequency tuning curve or frequency theshold curve) is the name given to the shape of a graph showing the threshold of a single fibre of the auditory nerve plotted against the frequencies of sound to which it responds.

Psychoacoustic tuning curves Edit

The shapes of auditory filters are found by analysis of psychoacoustic tuning, which are graphs that show a subject's threshold for detection of a tone as a function of masker parameters.[1]

Psychoacoustic tuning curves can be measured using the notched-noise method. This form of measurement can take a considerable amount of time and can take around 30 minutes to find each masked threshold.[2] In the notched-noise method the subject is presented with a notched noise as the masker and a sinusoid (pure tone) as the signal. Notched noise is used as a masker to prevent the subject hearing beats that occur if a sinusoidal masker is used.[3] The notched noise is noise with a notch around the frequency of the signal the subject is trying to detect, and contains noise within a certain bandwidth. The bandwidth of the noise changes and the masked thresholds for the sinusoid are measured. The masked thresholds are calculated through simultaneous masking when the signal is played to the subject at the same time as the masker and not after.

To get a true representation of the auditory filters in one subject, many psychoacoustic tuning curves need to be calculated with the signal at different frequencies. For each psychoacoustic tuning curve being measured, at least five but preferably between thirteen and fifteen thresholds must be calculated, with different notch widths.[2] Also a large number of thresholds need to be calculated because the auditory filters are asymmetrical, so thresholds should also be measured with the notch asymmetric to the frequency of the signal.[1] Because of the many measurements needed, the amount of time needed to find the shape of a person's auditory filters is very long. To reduce the amount of time needed, the ascending method can be used when finding the masked thresholds. If the ascending method is used to calculate the threshold the time needed to calculate the shape of the filter is reduced dramatically, as it takes around two minutes to calculate the threshold.[2] This is because the threshold is recorded when the subject first hears the tone, instead of when they respond to a certain stimulus level a certain percentage of the time.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Glasberg, B. R.; Moore, B. C. J. (1990), "Derivation of auditory filter shapes from notched-noise data", Hear. Res. (47): 103–138 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Nakaichi, T.; Watanuki, K.; Sakamoto, S. (2003), "A simplified measurement method of auditory filters for hearing impaired listeners", Acoust. Sci. and tech. 24 (6): 365–375 
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named M86
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