Spatial Release From Masking in Adults With Bilateral Cochlear Implants: Effects of Distracter Azimuth and Microphone Location Purpose The primary purpose of this study was to derive spatial release from masking (SRM) performance-azimuth functions for bilateral cochlear implant (CI) users to provide a thorough description of SRM as a function of target/distracter spatial configuration. The secondary purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 15, 2018
Spatial Release From Masking in Adults With Bilateral Cochlear Implants: Effects of Distracter Azimuth and Microphone Location
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Timothy J. Davis
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • René H. Gifford
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Disclosure: René H. Gifford is on the audiology advisory board for Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas, and the scientific advisory board for Frequency Therapeutics.
    Disclosure: René H. Gifford is on the audiology advisory board for Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas, and the scientific advisory board for Frequency Therapeutics. ×
  • Correspondence to Timothy J. Davis: timothy.j.davis@vanderbilt.edu
  • Editor: Frederick Gallun
    Editor: Frederick Gallun×
  • Associate Editor: Richard Dowell
    Associate Editor: Richard Dowell×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 15, 2018
Spatial Release From Masking in Adults With Bilateral Cochlear Implants: Effects of Distracter Azimuth and Microphone Location
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 752-761. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0441
History: Received November 29, 2016 , Revised August 20, 2017 , Accepted October 4, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 752-761. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0441
History: Received November 29, 2016; Revised August 20, 2017; Accepted October 4, 2017

Purpose The primary purpose of this study was to derive spatial release from masking (SRM) performance-azimuth functions for bilateral cochlear implant (CI) users to provide a thorough description of SRM as a function of target/distracter spatial configuration. The secondary purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the microphone location for SRM in a within-subject study design.

Method Speech recognition was measured in 12 adults with bilateral CIs for 11 spatial separations ranging from −90° to +90° in 20° steps using an adaptive block design. Five of the 12 participants were tested with both the behind-the-ear microphones and a T-mic configuration to further investigate the effect of mic location on SRM.

Results SRM can be significantly affected by the hemifield origin of the distracter stimulus—particularly for listeners with interaural asymmetry in speech understanding. The greatest SRM was observed with a distracter positioned 50° away from the target. There was no effect of mic location on SRM for the current experimental design.

Conclusion Our results demonstrate that the traditional assessment of SRM with a distracter positioned at 90° azimuth may underestimate maximum performance for individuals with bilateral CIs.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grants R01 DC009404 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, awarded to Dr. René Gifford. Portions of this data set were presented at the 2016 meeting of the American Auditory Society in Scottsdale, AZ, and the 14th International Conference on CIs in Toronto, Canada. Institutional review board approval was by Vanderbilt University (No. 101509). The authors would like to thank Chris Stecker for his contributions to an earlier version of this article. René Gifford is on the audiology advisory board for Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas and the scientific advisory board for frequency therapeutics.
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