What is it about?

The best spatial hearing comes from frequency-matched inputs. Users of cochlear-implants, those with bionic auditory prostheses that partially restore hearing, do not necessarily have across-ear frequency-matched information conveyed by their sound processors. We would eventually like to frequency-match across the ears to improve spatial hearing in cochlear-implant users. Even in research studies, we only perform crude across-ear pitch matching. However, we have never validated the methods to use across-ear pitch was appropriate for cochlear-implant users. Therefore, we performed experiments to determine if interaural pitch matches could be made reliably. We found that cochlear-implant users find it exceedingly difficult to compare pitch across the ears. The matches were very unreliable, which make them questionable for use to program cochlear-implant sound processors.

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Why is it important?

This is an important finding because it shows us that we need different methods to perform across-ear frequency alignments, which are intended to improve spatial hearing for cochlear-implant users.


Researchers should approach across-ear pitch-discrimination tasks very carefully. The problems with interaural pitch outlined in this study show how any preconceived notion of where the pitch match should be will produce a self-fulling prophecy.

Dr. Matthew J Goupell
University System of Maryland

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Interaural Pitch-Discrimination Range Effects for Bilateral and Single-Sided-Deafness Cochlear-Implant Users, Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, January 2019, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s10162-018-00707-x.
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