Research paperPerceptual dissimilarities among acoustic stimuli and ipsilateral electric stimuli
Review articleOpen access

AbstractFive users of cochlear implants who had residual acoustic hearing in the implanted ear postoperatively participated in a study comparing the percepts elicited by acoustic and electric stimuli. The stimuli comprised pulse trains delivered to single electrodes and pure tones presented ipsilaterally. In the experiments, 12 equally loud stimuli with differing frequencies, electrode positions, and pulse rates were generated. Subjects listened to all of the possible pairs of stimuli in each set, and provided a relative dissimilarity rating for the members of each stimulus pair. The data were analyzed using non-metric multi-dimensional scaling techniques. Stimulus spaces were plotted in two dimensions to represent the results for each subject with each stimulus set. The results suggested that one dimension was associated with a pitch-like percept, related to the acoustic tone frequency and the active electrode position. The second dimension separated the acoustic stimuli from the electric stimuli. Generally, the electric pulse rate seemed to have a relatively small perceptual effect in this experimental context. Overall, the results show that acoustic pure tones are perceived as very different from electric pulse trains delivered to single electrode positions with constant rate, even when both the acoustic and the electric stimuli are presented to the same ear.

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