Pitch contour identification with combined place and temporal cues using cochlear implants


This study investigated the integration of place- and temporal-pitch cues in pitch contour identification (PCI), in which cochlear implant (CI) users were asked to judge the overall pitch-change direction of stimuli. Falling and rising pitch contours were created either by continuously steering current between adjacent electrodes (place pitch), by continuously changing amplitude modulation (AM) frequency (temporal pitch), or both. The percentage of rising responses was recorded as a function of current steering or AM frequency change, with single or combined pitch cues. A significant correlation was found between subjects’ sensitivity to current steering and AM frequency change. The integration of place- and temporal-pitch cues was most effective when the two cues were similarly discriminable in isolation. Adding the other (place or temporal) pitch cues shifted the temporal- or place-pitch psychometric functions horizontally without changing the slopes. PCI was significantly better with consistent place- and temporal-pitch cues than with inconsistent cues. PCI with single cues and integration of pitch cues were similar on different electrodes. The results suggest that CI users effectively integrate place- and temporal-pitch cues in relative pitch perception tasks. Current steering and AM frequency change should be coordinated to better transmit dynamic pitch information to CI users.

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131(2), 1325-1336