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Hear Res. 2019 Aug;379:12-20. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2019.04.007. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Frequency change detection and speech perception in cochlear implant users.

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Shenzhen Maternity & Child Healthcare Hospital, Shenzhen, China.
Communication Sciences Research Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA; Department of Otolaryngology, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Department of Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Dynamic frequency changes in sound provide critical cues for speech perception. Most previous studies examining frequency discrimination in cochlear implant (CI) users have employed behavioral tasks in which target and reference tones (differing in frequency) are presented statically in separate time intervals. Participants are required to identify the target frequency by comparing stimuli across these time intervals. However, perceiving dynamic frequency changes in speech requires detection of within-interval frequency change. This study explored the relationship between detection of within-interval frequency changes and speech perception performance of CI users. Frequency change detection thresholds (FCDTs) were measured in 20 adult CI users using a 3-alternative forced-choice (3AFC) procedure. Stimuli were 1-sec pure tones (base frequencies at 0.25, 1, 4 kHz) with frequency changes occurring 0.5 s after the tone onset. Speech tests were 1) Consonant-Nucleus-Consonant (CNC) monosyllabic word recognition, 2) Arizona Biomedical Sentence Recognition (AzBio) in Quiet, 3) AzBio in Noise (AzBio-N, +10 dB signal-to-noise/SNR ratio), and 4) Digits-in-noise (DIN). Participants' subjective satisfaction with the CI was obtained. Results showed that correlations between FCDTs and speech perception were all statistically significant. The satisfaction level of CI use was not related to FCDTs, after controlling for major demographic factors. DIN speech reception thresholds were significantly correlated to AzBio-N scores. The current findings suggest that the ability to detect within-interval frequency changes may play an important role in speech perception performance of CI users. FCDT and DIN can serve as simple and rapid tests that require no or minimal linguistic background for the prediction of CI speech outcomes.


Cochlear implant; Frequency change detection; Speech perception

[Available on 2020-08-01]
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