Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


First Advisor

Lily M. Wang

Second Advisor

Ellen Peng

Third Advisor

Erica Ryherd

Date of this Version


Document Type



A Thesis presented to the faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Architectural Engineering

Under the Supervision of Dr. Lily M. Wang

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2023


Listening with both ears provides children with access to binaural and monaural cues that are helpful for understanding speech in competing babbles. Specifically, when the target and masker are spatially separated, children can gain an intelligibility benefit which is known as spatial release from masking (SRM). Recent work [Peng et al., 2021 JASA] suggested that school-age children demonstrated immature SRM using binaural cues that are distorted by reverberation. In this follow-up study, we further investigate the effect of reverberant distortion on individual auditory spatial cues, namely binaural and monaural head shadow cues. We compare SRM between adults and school-age children with typical hearing using the novel measure of minimum angle of separation (MAS) between target and masker for which individual achieves a 20% intelligibility gain, in both virtually simulated anechoic and reverberant environments. MAS was measured in both binaural and monaural hearing conditions, as well symmetric versus asymmetric masker displacement to probe access to various auditory cues of interest. Preliminary results show statistically significant effect on MAS when comparing binaural and monaural conditions as well as when comparing symmetric and asymmetric masking conditions. Binaural listening seems to have a positive effect on MAS. Asymmetric masking also seems to improve MAS.

Advisor: Lily M. Wang