Minimum audible angle, just noticeable interaural differences and speech intelligibility with bilateral cochlear implants using clinical speech processors

Audiol Neurootol. 2005 Nov-Dec;10(6):342-52. doi: 10.1159/000087351. Epub 2005 Aug 5.


Sound localization and speech intelligibility were assessed in 5 patients implanted bilaterally with Medel C40+ or Medel C40 cochlear implant (CI) systems. The minimum audible angle (MAA) around the head in the horizontal plane was assessed in patients with bilateral CI using white noise bursts of 1000 ms duration presented from a loudspeaker mounted on a rotating boom and compared with the MAA of age-matched normal hearing controls. Spatial discrimination was found to be good in front and in the back of the head with near-normal MAA values (patients: 3-8 degrees , controls: 1-4 degrees ). In contrast, poor performance on the sides was found (patients: 30 to over 45 degrees , controls 7-10 degrees ). Bilateral CI significantly improved spatial discrimination in front for all patients, when compared with the use of either CI alone. Just noticeable differences (JNDs) in interaural intensity and time were assessed using white noise bursts (1000 ms duration; 50 ms linear ramp). In addition, interaural time JNDs were assessed using click trains (800 ms duration, 40 mus clicks, 50 Hz) and noise bursts in which either only the envelope or only the fine structure was shifted in time. In comparison with normal hearing controls, patients with bilateral CI showed near-normal interaural intensity JNDs but substantially poorer interaural time JNDs depending on the type of stimulus. In contrast to envelope onset/offset cues, interaural fine structure time differences were not perceived by the patients using CI systems employing the continuous interleaved sampling strategy without synchronization between their pulse stimulation times. Speech intelligibility in quiet and CCITT noise from the side (+/-90 degrees ) was assessed using the German HSM sentence test and was significantly better when using bilateral CI in comparison with either unilateral CI, mainly due to a head shadow effect. These favorable results are in agreement with the patients' subjective experiences assessed with a questionnaire and support the use of bilateral CI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Deafness / therapy*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sound Localization / physiology*
  • Speech Intelligibility / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires