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J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Mar;131(3):2209-24. doi: 10.1121/1.3683248.

Forward masking as a method of measuring place specificity of neural excitation in cochlear implants: a review of methods and interpretation.

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1
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M33 3GH, United Kingdom. colette.mckay@manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper reviews the psychophysical forward masking methods that have been used to investigate place specificity in cochlear implantees. These experiments are relevant for investigating whether the individual variability in outcomes for people using the same device can be explained by individual variations in frequency resolution or whether place specificity is affected by different modes of stimulation (such as bipolar, monopolar or tripolar) in the same person. Unfortunately, there has been no consensus about the methods used to derive electrical forward masking functions, or in the way that they are interpreted in relation to place specificity. Here, the different methods are critically examined to provide insight into the optimal methods that should be used to measure and interpret spatial forward masking functions in electric hearing. It is shown that, in order to separate the temporal effects of masking decay from the place-specificity information, different analyses of the functions are needed depending on whether a fixed-probe or fixed-masker method is employed. The effects of unit of measurement on specificity measures and the effects of subject listening strategy on the forward masked functions are also discussed.

PMID:
22423717
DOI:
10.1121/1.3683248
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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