Perception of Iterated Rippled Noise Periodicity in Cochlear Implant Users

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Pitch perception is more challenging for individuals with cochlear implants (CIs) than normal-hearing subjects because the signal processing by CIs is restricted. Processing and perceiving the periodicity of signals may contribute to pitch perception. Whether individuals with CIs can discern pitch within an iterated rippled noise (IRN) signal is still unclear. In a prospective controlled psychoacoustic study with 34 CI users and 15 normal-hearing control subjects, the difference limen between IRN signals with different numbers of iterations was measured. In 7 CI users and 15 normal-hearing control listeners with single-sided deafness, pitch matching between IRN and harmonic complex tones was measured. The pitch onset response (POR) following signal changes from white noise to IRN was measured electrophysiologically. The CI users could discriminate different numbers of iteration in IRN signals, but worse than normal-hearing listeners. A POR was measured for both normal-hearing subjects and CI users increasing with the pitch salience of the IRN. This indicates that the POR could serve as an objective measure to monitor progress during audioverbal therapy after CI surgery.

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