Assessing the role of spectral and intensity cues in spectral ripple detection and discrimination in cochlear-implant users

Elizabeth S. Anderson, Andrew J. Oxenham, Peggy B. Nelson, David A. Nelson

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72 Scopus citations


Measures of spectral ripple resolution have become widely used psychophysical tools for assessing spectral resolution in cochlear-implant (CI) listeners. The objective of this study was to compare spectral ripple discrimination and detection in the same group of CI listeners. Ripple detection thresholds were measured over a range of ripple frequencies and were compared to spectral ripple discrimination thresholds previously obtained from the same CI listeners. The data showed that performance on the two measures was correlated, but that individual subjects' thresholds (at a constant spectral modulation depth) for the two tasks were not equivalent. In addition, spectral ripple detection was often found to be possible at higher rates than expected based on the available spectral cues, making it likely that temporal-envelope cues played a role at higher ripple rates. Finally, spectral ripple detection thresholds were compared to previously obtained speech-perception measures. Results confirmed earlier reports of a robust relationship between detection of widely spaced ripples and measures of speech recognition. In contrast, intensity difference limens for broadband noise did not correlate with spectral ripple detection measures, suggesting a dissociation between the ability to detect small changes in intensity across frequency and across time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3925-3934
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R01 DC 006699 and R01 DC 008306) and by the Lions International Hearing Foundation. We thank Heather Kreft for her assistance on this project, Christophe Micheyl for his helpful insights, and all of our research subjects for their participation. 1


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