Bilateral cochlear implantation is becoming a standard of care in many clinics. While much benefit has been shown through bilateral implantation, patients who have bilateral cochlear implants (CIs) still do not perform as well as normal hearing listeners in sound localization and understanding speech in noisy environments. This difference in performance can arise from a number of different factors, including the areas of hardware and engineering, surgical precision and pathology of the auditory system in deaf persons. While surgical precision and individual pathology are factors that are beyond careful control, improvements can be made in the areas of clinical practice and the engineering of binaural speech processors. These improvements should be grounded in a good understanding of the sensitivities of bilateral CI patients to the acoustic binaural cues that are important to normal hearing listeners for sound localization and speech in noise understanding. To this end, we review the current state-of-the-art in the understanding of the sensitivities of bilateral CI patients to binaural cues in electric hearing, and highlight the important issues and challenges as they relate to clinical practice and the development of new binaural processing strategies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled <Lasker Award>.
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