Electrode spanning with partial tripolar stimulation mode in cochlear implants


The perceptual effects of electrode spanning (i.e., the use of nonadjacent return electrodes) in partial tripolar (pTP) mode were tested on a main electrode EL8 in five cochlear implant (CI) users. Current focusing was controlled by σ (the ratio of current returned within the cochlea), and current steering was controlled by α (the ratio of current returned to the basal electrode). Experiment 1 tested whether asymmetric spanning with α = 0.5 can create additional channels around standard pTP stimuli. It was found that in general, apical spanning (i.e., returning current to EL6 rather than EL7) elicited a pitch between those of standard pTP stimuli on main electrodes EL8 and EL9, while basal spanning (i.e., returning current to EL10 rather than EL9) elicited a pitch between those of standard pTP stimuli on main electrodes EL7 and EL8. The pitch increase caused by apical spanning was more salient than the pitch decrease caused by basal spanning. To replace the standard pTP channel on the main electrode EL8 when EL7 or EL9 is defective, experiment 2 tested asymmetrically spanned pTP stimuli with various α, and experiment 3 tested symmetrically spanned pTP stimuli with various σ. The results showed that pitch increased with decreasing α in asymmetric spanning, or with increasing σ in symmetric spanning. Apical spanning with α around 0.69 and basal spanning with α around 0.38 may both elicit a similar pitch as the standard pTP stimulus. With the same σ, the symmetrically spanned pTP stimulus was higher in pitch than the standard pTP stimulus. A smaller σ was thus required for symmetric spanning to match the pitch of the standard pTP stimulus. In summary, electrode spanning is an effective field-shaping technique that is useful for adding spectral channels and handling defective electrodes with CIs.

Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 15(6), 1023-1036