Investigating Bilateral Cochlear Implant Users' Localization of Amplitude- and Time-Panned Stimuli Produced Over a Limited Loudspeaker Arrangement

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the localization ability of bilateral cochlear implant (BiCI) users for virtual sound sources produced over a limited loudspeaker arrangement. DESIGN: Ten BiCI users and 10 normal-hearing subjects participated in listening tests in which amplitude- and time-panned virtual sound sources were produced over a limited loudspeaker setup with varying azimuth angles. Three stimuli were utilized: speech, bandpassed pink noise between 20 Hz and 1 kHz, and bandpassed pink noise between 1 kHz and 8 kHz. The data were collected via a two-alternative forced-choice procedure and used to calculate the minimum audible angle (MAA) of each subject, which was subsequently compared to the results of previous studies in which real sound sources were employed. RESULT: The median MAAs of the amplitude-panned speech, low-frequency pink noise, and high-frequency pink noise stimuli for the BiCI group were calculated to be 20°, 38°, and 12°, respectively. For the time-panned stimuli, the MAAs of the BiCI group for all three stimuli were calculated to be close to the upper limit of the listening test. CONCLUSIONS: The computed MAAs of the BiCI group for amplitude-panned speech were marginally larger than BiCI users' previously reported MAAs for real sound sources, whereas their computed MAAs for the time-panned stimuli were significantly larger. Subsequent statistical analysis indicated a statistically significant difference in the performances of the BiCI group in localizing the amplitude-panned sources and the time-panned sources. It follows that time-panning over limited loudspeaker arrangements may not be a useful clinical tool, whereas amplitude-panning utilizing such a setup may be further explored as such. Additionally, a comparison with the patient demographics indicated correlations between the results and the patients' age at time of diagnoses and the time passed between date of diagnosis and their implant surgeries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Audiology
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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