Sound Descriptions of Musicianship: Relationships between Pitch Discrimination, Audiometric Measures of Hearing Sensitivity and Musical Skill




Pitch perception is related to sound periodicity and provides important information for musical and vocal communication. Our previous data show that musicians have better diotic and dichotic frequency discrimination limen (DLF) thresholds compared to non-musicians, and that DLF is related to musical ability and self evaluation of musical competence. These data not only suggest that musical training impacts peripheral and central mechanisms of sound perception, but also that discrimination thresholds can be related to both objective and subjective measures of musical competence. This gives rise to the notion that that musicianship impacts perception in three realms: sound discrimination, musical skill and self-evaluation of musical competence. However, it is unclear whether the positive impact of musical training on sound perception is restricted to pitch discrimination thresholds, or if it extends to more basic audiometric measures such as absolute threshold of pure tones. The current study aims to answer this question by examining putative relationships between DLFs, music competency measures and standard audiometric results (e.g. pure tone thresholds, ultra-high frequency thresholds, QuickSIN scores, DPOAE measurements). Previous data suggest that ultra-high frequency thresholds, QuickSIN scores and musical skill will be interrelated. However, there are conflicting reports regarding the degree to which musicianship impacts certain measures of hearing sensitivity, such as speech-in-noise. Based on these data, our hypothesis is that hearing sensitivity plays a role in pitch perception to a different degree in musicians and non-musicians. The results of study shed light on the relationships between music training, psychoacoustics and audiometric measures of sound and inform the defining characteristics of musicianship.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1-27-2020

Publication Title

Association for Research in Otolaryngology 43rd MidWinter Meeting

Conference Dates

01/25/2020 - 01/29/2020

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