OBJECTIVES: This study tested listeners with a cochlear implant (CI) in one ear and acoustic hearing in the other ear, to assess their ability to localize sound and to understand speech in collocated or spatially separated noise or speech maskers. DESIGN: Eight CI listeners with contralateral acoustic hearing ranging from normal hearing to moderate sensorineural hearing loss were tested. Localization accuracy was measured in five of the listeners using stimuli that emphasized the separate contributions of interaural level differences (ILDs) and interaural time differences (ITD) in the temporal envelope and/or fine structure. Sentence recognition was tested in all eight CI listeners, using collocated and spatially separated speech-shaped Gaussian noise and two-talker babble. Performance was compared with that of age-matched normal-hearing listeners via loudspeakers or via headphones with vocoder simulations of CI processing. RESULTS: Localization improved with the CI but only when high-frequency ILDs were available. Listeners experienced no additional benefit via ITDs in the stimulus envelope or fine structure using real or vocoder-simulated CIs. Speech recognition in two-talker babble improved with a CI in seven of the eight listeners when the target was located at the front and the babble was presented on the side of the acoustic-hearing ear, but otherwise showed little or no benefit of a CI. CONCLUSION: Sound localization can be improved with a CI in cases of significant residual hearing in the contralateral ear, but only for sounds with high-frequency content, and only based on ILDs. In speech understanding, the CI contributed most when it was in the ear with the better signal to noise ratio with a speech masker.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural