Previous claims that auditory stream segregation occurs in cochlear implant listeners are based on limited evidence. In experiment 1, eight listeners heard tones presented in a 30-s repeating ABA-sequence, with frequencies matching the centre frequencies of the implant's 22 electrodes. Tone A always stimulated electrode 11 (centre of the array); tone B stimulated one of the others. Tone repetition times (TRTs) from 50 to 200 ms were used. Listeners reported when they heard one or two streams. The proportion of time that each sequence was reported as segregated was consistently greater with increased electrode separation. However, TRT had no significant effect, and the perceptual reversals typical of normal-hearing listeners rarely occurred. The results may reflect channel discrimination rather than stream segregation. In experiment 2, six listeners performed a pitch-ranking task using tone pairs (reference = electrode 11). Listeners reported which tone was higher in pitch (or brighter in timbre) and their confidence in the pitch judgement. Similarities were observed in the individual pattern of results for reported segregation and pitch discrimination. Many implant listeners may show little or no sign of automatic stream segregation owing to the reduced perceptual space within which sounds can differ from one another. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Bibliographical noteConference on Implantable Auditory Prostheses, Asilomar, CA, August 2005.
- auditory grouping
- Cochlear implants
- pitch discrimination
- stream segregation