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Acta Otolaryngol. 2016 Jul;136(7):692-8. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2016.1155232. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

Improvement of sound source localization abilities in patients bilaterally supplied with active middle ear implants.

Author information

1
a Department for Hearing, Speech and Voice Disorders , Medical University of Innsbruck , Innsbruck , Austria ;
2
b Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Clinic St. Pölten , St. Pölten , Austria.

Abstract

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients, who are bilaterally supplied with active middle ear implants, perform slightly better in sound localization tasks than when unilaterally aided or unaided.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the impact of bilateral use of active middle ear implants on sound source localization in the horizontal plane in patients with a sloping moderate-to-severe hearing loss.

METHODS:

Ten adults supplied with Med-EL Vibrant Soundbridge systems (VSB) in both ears participated in the study. Four listening conditions were tested: unaided, aided with VSB on left or right ear and on both sides. In each condition the subjects had to judge the direction of broadband noises delivered randomly across a semicircular array of 11 loudspeakers arranged in an anechoic chamber.

RESULTS:

When unaided or bilaterally aided, the subjects localized on average 40% of the stimuli correct; when unilaterally aided (left or right), this rate dropped to 20-30% in either condition. Precision of sound localization was highest when bilaterally aided, i.e. the mean RMS angular error was 10°, and lowest when unilaterally aided, i.e. 15°. This is in line with bilateral hearing aid users, who show similar performance in sound localization tasks.

KEYWORDS:

Middle ear implant; Vibrant Soundbridge; bilateral implant; sound source localization

PMID:
27268944
DOI:
10.3109/00016489.2016.1155232
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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