Effects of insertion depth on spatial speech perception in noise for simulations of cochlear implants and single-sided deafness

Zhou, X. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 1 July 2016

Objective: This study evaluated the effects of insertion depth on spatial speech perception in noise for simulations of cochlear implants (CI) and single-sided deafness (SSD).

Design: Mandarin speech recognition thresholds were adaptively measured in five listening conditions and four spatial configurations. The original signal was delivered to the left ear. The right ear received either no input, one of three CI simulations in which the insertion depth was varied, or the original signal. Speech and noise were presented at either front, left, or right.

Study sample: Ten Mandarin-speaking NH listeners with pure-tone thresholds less than 20 dB HL.

Results: Relative to no input in the right ear, the CI simulations provided significant improvements in head shadow benefit for all insertion depths, as well as better spatial release of masking (SRM) for the deepest simulated insertion. There were no significant improvements in summation or squelch for any of the CI simulations.

Conclusions: The benefits of cochlear implantation were largely limited to head shadow, with some benefit for SRM. The greatest benefits were observed for the deepest simulated CI insertion, suggesting that reducing mismatch between acoustic and electric hearing may increase the benefit of cochlear implantation.

Read the abstract here

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