Auditory grouping in cochlear implant listeners

  • Huw R. Cooper

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis describes a series of experiments investigating both sequential and concurrent auditory grouping in implant listeners. Some grouping cues used by normal-hearing listeners should also be available to implant listeners, while others (e.g. fundamental frequency) are unlikely to be useful. As poor spectral resolution may also limit implant listeners’ performance, the spread of excitation in the cochlea was assessed using Neural Response Telemetry (NRT) and the results were related to those of the perceptual tasks. Experiment 1 evaluated sequential segregation of alternating tone sequences; no effect of rate or evidence of perceptual ambiguity was found, suggesting that automatic stream segregation had not occurred. Experiment 2 was an electrode pitch-ranking task; some relationship was found between pitch-ranking judgements (especially confidence scores) and reported segregation. Experiment 3 used a temporal discrimination task; this also failed to provide evidence of automatic stream segregation, because no interaction was found between the effects of sequence length and electrode separation. Experiment 4 explored schema-based grouping using interleaved melody discrimination; listeners were not able to segregate targets and distractors based on pitch differences, unless accompanied by substantial level differences. Experiment 5 evaluated concurrent segregation in a task requiring the detection of level changes in individual components of a complex tone. Generally, large changes were needed and abrupt changes were no easier to detect than gradual ones. In experiment 6, NRT testing confirmed substantially overlapping simulation by intracochlear electrodes. Overall, little or no evidence of auditory grouping by implant listeners was found.
Date of AwardFeb 2008
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Roberts (Supervisor)


  • cochlear implant
  • auditory streaming
  • auditory grouping

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