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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Jan;127(1):400-14. doi: 10.1121/1.3257546.

Effect of age at onset of deafness on binaural sensitivity in electric hearing in humans.

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University of Wisconsin Waisman Center, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, USA.


Sensitivity to binaural cues was studied in 11 bilateral cochlear implant users, all of whom received both of their cochlear implants as adults, but who varied in the age at onset of deafness, from pre-lingual to childhood-onset to adult-onset. Sensitivity to interaural timing difference (ITD) and interaural level difference (ILD) cues was measured at basal, middle, and apical pitch-matched places of stimulation along the cochlear arrays, using a stimulation rate of 100 Hz. Results show that there is a trend for people whose onset of deafness occurred during adult life or late childhood to retain at least some sensitivity to ITDs, whereas people with onset of deafness earlier in life were insensitive to ITDs. In contrast, ILD cue sensitivity was present in all subjects. There were no effects of place of stimulation on binaural sensitivity, suggesting that there is no indication of a dependence of ITD sensitivity on apical vs basal electrode location.

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