Across-electrode processing in CI users: a strongly etiology dependent task
To investigate across-electrode processing in cochlear-implant (CI) users, we established an experimental setup that allows measuring comodulation masking release (CMR) using controlled electrical stimulation of auditory nerve fibers. In this paper we present results of a flanking-band type of CMR experiment with uncorrelated (UC) vs. comodulated (CM) masker components. To deal with the large current spread in electrical stimulation that may introduce additional masking especially in the UC condition, we now compare two different electrode configurations: proximate vs. remote alignments of flanking bands in reference to the on-signal band. Results of 18 test subjects revealed no significant difference between CMR[UC-CM] magnitudes across these two conditions (p = 0.3), whereas outcomes varied strongly across test subjects. To highlight different groups of performers, a hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted. N = 5 CI users showed no or even negative CMR. The majority of N = 9 CI users exhibited positive and significant CMR (around 3 dB). Finally, a subset of N = 4 CI users showed considerable CMR magnitudes (6-10 dB). Etiology was a good indicator for the remaining individual CMR capabilities.
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