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J Acoust Soc Am. 2009 Aug;126(2):806-15. doi: 10.1121/1.3158821.

Sensitivity to interaural time difference with bilateral cochlear implants: Development over time and effect of interaural electrode spacing.

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Cochlear Implant Research Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Sensitivity to interaural time difference (ITD) in constant-amplitude pulse trains was measured in four sequentially implanted bilateral cochlear implant (CI) subjects. The sensitivity measurements were made as a function of time beginning directly after the second ear was implanted, continued for periods of months before subjects began wearing bilateral sound processors, and extended for months while the subjects used bilateral sound processors in day-to-day listening. Measurements were also made as a function of the relative position of the left/right electrodes. The two subjects with the shortest duration of binaural deprivation before implantation demonstrated ITD sensitivity soon after second-ear implantation (before receiving the second sound processor), while the other two did not demonstrate sensitivity until after months of daily experience using bilateral processors. The interaural mismatch in electrode position required to decrease ITD sensitivity by a factor of 2 (half-width) for CI subjects was five times greater than the half-width for interaural carrier-frequency disparity in normal-hearing subjects listening to sinusoidally amplitude-modulated high-frequency tones. This large half-width is likely to contribute to poor binaural performance in CI users, especially in environments with multiple broadband sound sources.

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