The frequency selectivity of the peripheral ear (e.g., at the VIIIth nerve level) is so acute that onset and offset transients in responses to short signals produce a nonnegligible extension of the signal duration. Thus, peripheral excitation patterns produced by signals which were separated in time can overlap and thereby mask each other. We refer to this type of masking as transient masking. Published data on nonsimultaneous masking and the results of two new experiments are compared with the masking that may be expected from filter transients. It is concluded that backward masking is mainly due to interactions at the level of the filter outputs, and that in forward masking, in addition to a short-term component, a long-term component is distinguishable. The latter has an exponential decay with a time constant of approximately 75 msec, and is probably related to physiological adaptation effects.