The evidence that cochlear implant listeners routinely experience stream segregation is limited and equivocal. Streaming in these listeners was explored using tone sequences matched to the center frequencies of the implant’s 22 electrodes. Experiment 1 measured temporal discrimination for short (ABA triplet) and longer (12 AB cycles) sequences (tone/silence durations = 60/40 ms). Tone A stimulated electrode 11; tone B stimulated one of 14 electrodes. On each trial, one sequence remained isochronous, and tone B was delayed in the other; listeners had to identify the anisochronous interval. The delay was introduced in the second half of the longer sequences. Prior build-up of streaming should cause thresholds to rise more steeply with increasing electrode separation, but no interaction with sequence length was found. Experiment 2 required listeners to identify which of two target sequences was present when interleaved with distractors (tone/silence durations = 120/80 ms). Accuracy was high for isolated targets, but most listeners performed near chance when loudness-matched distractors were added, even when remote from the target. Only a substantial reduction in distractor level improved performance, and this effect did not interact with target-distractor separation. These results indicate that implantees often do not achieve stream segregation, even in relatively unchallenging tasks.
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