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Hear Res. 1993 May;67(1-2):166-78.

Effects of phase duration on detection of electrical stimulation of the human cochlea.

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Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0506.


Detection thresholds for biphasic symmetric pulses were measured in fourteen human subjects implanted with the Cochlear Corporation Nucleus 22 Implant. The effects of phase duration on thresholds were studied using single pulses, and 500 ms pulse trains at 100 pps. Psychophysical detection thresholds decreased as a function of phase duration with a change in slope at approximately 0.5 ms/phase. Mean single-pulse and pulse-train slopes were -3.60 and -4.25 dB/doubling of phase duration for pulse durations of less than about 0.5 ms/phase. For pulse durations greater than 0.5 ms/phase, mean slopes were -5.71 and -7.54 dB/doubling for single pulses and pulse trains, respectively. Thresholds for pulse trains decreased as a function of stimulus duration for durations up to at least 300 ms, with the rate of decrease being dependent on the phase duration of the pulse. Effects of stimulus duration were greater for longer phase duration signals. We hypothesize that the longer phase duration pulses activate multiple spikes in a single fiber and/or more effective patterns of spikes across fibers, which may explain why slopes of psychophysical threshold functions are steeper than those of functions for single auditory nerve fibers for longer duration pulses. Thresholds were compared to respective speech perception scores (CID sentences) since thresholds for long phase duration signals have been shown previously to be correlated with nerve survival patterns, and nerve survival patterns may affect speech perception. Correlation coefficients ranged from -0.59 to -0.81, depending on stimulus parameters and subject selection.

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