Temporal Pitch Perception in Cochlear-Implant Users: Channel Independence in Apical Cochlear Regions

Andreas Griessner, Reinhold Schatzer, Viktor Steixner, Gunesh P. Rajan, Clemens Zierhofer, Dayse Távora-Vieira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two-electrode stimuli presented on adjacent mid-array contacts in cochlear-implant users elicit pitch percepts that are not consistent with a summation of the two temporal patterns. This indicates that low-rate temporal rate codes can be applied with considerable independence on adjacent mid-array electrodes. At issue in this study was whether a similar independence of temporal pitch cues can also be observed for more apical sites of stimulation, where temporal cues have been shown to be more reliable than place cues, in contrast to middle and basal sites. In cochlear-implant recipients with single-sided deafness implanted with long lateral-wall electrode arrays, pitch percepts were assessed by matching the pitch of dual-electrode stimuli with pure tones presented to the contralateral normal-hearing ear. The results were supported with an additional pitch-ranking experiment, in a different subject population with bilateral deafness. Unmodulated pulse trains with 100, 200, and 400 pulses per second were presented on three pairs of adjacent electrodes. Pulses were separated by the minimal interchannel delay (1.7 µs) in a short-delay configuration and by half the pulse period in a long-delay configuration. The hypothesis was that subjects would perceive a pitch corresponding to the doubled temporal pattern for the long-delay stimuli due to the summation of excitation patterns from adjacent apical electrodes, if those electrodes were to activate largely overlapping neural populations. However, we found that the mean matched acoustic pitch of the long-delay pulses was not significantly different from that of the short-delay pulses. These findings suggest that also in the apical region in long-array cochlear-implant recipients, temporal cues can be transmitted largely independently on adjacent electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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