Using Temporal Modulation Sensitivity to Select Stimulation Sites for Processor MAPs in Cochlear Implant Listeners

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Previous studies in our laboratory showed that temporal acuity as assessed by modulation detection thresholds (MDTs) varied across activation sites and that this site-to-site variability was subject specific. Using two 10-channel MAPs, the previous experiments showed that processor MAPs that had better across-site mean (ASM) MDTs yielded better speech recognition than MAPs with poorer ASM MDTs tested in the same subject. The current study extends our earlier work on developing more optimal-fitting strategies to test the feasibility of using a site-selection approach in the clinical domain. This study examined the hypothesis that revising the clinical speech processor MAP for cochlear implant (CI) recipients by turning off selected sites that have poorer temporal acuity and reallocating frequencies to the remaining electrodes would lead to improved speech recognition. Twelve CI recipients participated in the experiments. We found that site selection procedure based on MDTs in the presence of a masker resulted in improved performance on consonant recognition and recognition of sentences in noise. In contrast, vowel recognition was poorer with the experimental MAP than with the clinical MAP, possibly due to reduced spectral resolution when sites were removed from the experimental MAP. Overall, these results suggest a promising path for improving recipient outcomes using personalized processor-fitting strategies based on a psychophysical measure of temporal acuity.

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