Auditory Enhancement in Cochlear-Implant Users Under Simultaneous and Forward Masking

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Abstract

Auditory enhancement is the phenomenon whereby the salience or detectability of a target sound within a masker is enhanced by the prior presentation of the masker alone. Enhancement has been demonstrated using both simultaneous and forward masking in normal-hearing listeners and may play an important role in auditory and speech perception within complex and time-varying acoustic environments. The few studies of enhancement in hearing-impaired listeners have reported reduced or absent enhancement effects under forward masking, suggesting a potentially peripheral locus of the effect. Here, auditory enhancement was measured in eight cochlear-implant (CI) users with direct stimulation. Masked thresholds were measured under simultaneous and forward masking as a function of the number of masking electrodes, and the electrode spacing between the maskers and the target. Evidence for auditory enhancement was obtained under simultaneous masking, qualitatively consistent with results from normal-hearing listeners. However, no significant enhancement was observed under forward masking, in contrast to earlier results with normal-hearing listeners. The results suggest that the normal effects of auditory enhancement are partially but not fully experienced by CI users. To the extent that the CI users’ results differ from normal, it may be possible to apply signal processing to restore the missing aspects of enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-493
Number of pages11
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • cochlear implants
  • context effects
  • enhancement

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