This entry introduces and defines the concepts of acoustic, neural, and temporal fine structure (TFS) of tone signals in the domain of speech and hearing. The role of TFS in pitch discrimination and spatial localization is explained, and the entry concludes with a brief discussion of the implications for normal aging and for those with hearing loss.

Acoustic Fine Structure

For a given tone signal, the acoustic fine structure simply corresponds to the frequency of the tone signal. However, it is not so straightforward to characterize the acoustic fine structure for complex broadband signals such as speech. Indeed, the speech waveform is often characterized as a sum of amplitude-modulated signals contained within a set of narrow frequency channels distributed across the spectrum. In this view, the ...

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