The goals of this study were to measure sensitivity to the direct-to-reverberant energy ratio (D/R) across a wide range of D/R values and to gain insight into which cues are used in the discrimination process. The main finding is that changes in D/R are discriminated primarily based on spectral cues. Temporal cues may be used but only when spectral cues are diminished or not available, while sensitivity to interaural cross-correlation is too low to be useful in any of the conditions tested. These findings are based on an acoustic analysis of these variables and the results of two psychophysical experiments. The first experiment employs wideband noise with two values for onset and offset times to determine the D/R just-noticeable difference at 10, 0, 10, and 20dB D/R. This yielded substantially higher sensitivity to D/R at 0 and 10dB D/R (23dB) than has been reported previously, while sensitivity is much lower at 10 and 20dB D/R. The second experiment consists of three parts where specific cues to D/R are reduced or removed, which enabled the specified rank ordering of the cues. The acoustic analysis and psychophysical experiments also provide an explanation for the “auditory horizon effect.”

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