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J Acoust Soc Am. 2003 May;113(5):2861-73.

The resolution of complex spectral patterns by cochlear implant and normal-hearing listeners.

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Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


The differences in spectral shape resolution abilities among cochlear implant (CI) listeners, and between CI and normal-hearing (NH) listeners, when listening with the same number of channels (12), was investigated. In addition, the effect of the number of channels on spectral shape resolution was examined. The stimuli were rippled noise signals with various ripple frequency-spacings. An adaptive 41FC procedure was used to determine the threshold for resolvable ripple spacing, which was the spacing at which an interchange in peak and valley positions could be discriminated. The results showed poorer spectral shape resolution in CI compared to NH listeners (average thresholds of approximately 3000 and 400 Hz, respectively), and wide variability among CI listeners (range of approximately 800 to 8000 Hz). There was a significant relationship between spectral shape resolution and vowel recognition. The spectral shape resolution thresholds of NH listeners increased as the number of channels increased from 1 to 16, while the CI listeners showed a performance plateau at 4-6 channels, which is consistent with previous results using speech recognition measures. These results indicate that this test may provide a measure of CI performance which is time efficient and non-linguistic, and therefore, if verified, may provide a useful contribution to the prediction of speech perception in adults and children who use CIs.

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