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J Acoust Soc Am. 2014 Jan;135(1):334-41. doi: 10.1121/1.4835735.

Training improves cochlear implant rate discrimination on a psychophysical task.

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Sensimetrics Corporation, Research & Development, 14 Summer Street, Suite 305, Malden, Massachusetts 02148.
House Research Institute, Communications and Auditory Neurosciences, 2100 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, California 90057.


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which cochlear implant (CI) rate discrimination can be improved through training. Six adult CI users took part in a study that included 32 h of training and assessment on rate discrimination measures. Rate difference limens (DLs) were measured from 110 to 3520 Hz in octave steps using 500 ms biphasic pulse trains; the target and standard stimuli were loudness-balanced with the target always at an adaptively lower rate. DLs were measured at four electrode positions corresponding to basal, mid-basal, mid-apical, and apical locations. Procedural variations were implemented to determine if rate discrimination was impacted by random variations in stimulus amplitude or by amplitude modulation. DLs improved by more than a factor of 2 across subjects, electrodes, and standard rates. Factor analysis indicated that the effect of training was comparable for all electrodes and standard rates tested. Neither level roving nor amplitude modulation had a significant effect on rate DLs. In conclusion, the results demonstrate that training can significantly improve CI rate discrimination on a psychophysical task.

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