What breaks a melody: perceiving F0 and intensity sequences with a cochlear implant.

Marion Cousineau, Laurent Demany, Bernard Meyer, Daniel Pressnitzer
Hearing Research. 2010-10-01; 269(1-2): 34-41
DOI: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.07.007

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1. Hear Res. 2010 Oct 1;269(1-2):34-41. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.07.007. Epub 2010
Jul 30.

What breaks a melody: perceiving F0 and intensity sequences with a cochlear
implant.

Cousineau M(1), Demany L, Meyer B, Pressnitzer D.

Author information:
(1)Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descartes, F-75006
Paris, France.

Pitch perception has been extensively studied using discrimination tasks on pairs
of single sounds. When comparing pitch discrimination performance for
normal-hearing (NH) and cochlear implant (CI) listeners, it usually appears that
CI users have relatively poor pitch discrimination. Tasks involving pitch
sequences, such as melody perception or auditory scene analysis, are also usually
difficult for CI users. However, it is unclear whether the issue with pitch
sequences is a consequence of sound discriminability, or if an impairment exists
for sequence processing per se. Here, we compared sequence processing abilities
across stimulus dimensions (fundamental frequency and intensity) and listener
groups (NH, CI, and NH listeners presented with noise-vocoded sequences). The
sequence elements were firstly matched in discriminability, for each listener and
dimension. Participants were then presented with pairs of sequences, constituted
by up to four elements varying on a single dimension, and they performed a
same/different task. In agreement with a previous study (Cousineau et al., 2009)
fundamental frequency sequences were processed more accurately than intensity
sequences by NH listeners. However, this was not the case for CI listeners, nor
for NH listeners presented with noise-vocoded sequences. Intensity sequence
processing was, nonetheless, equally accurate in the three groups. These results
show that the reduced pitch cues received by CI listeners do not only elevate
thresholds, as previously documented, but also affect pitch sequence processing
above threshold. We suggest that efficient sequence processing for pitch requires
the resolution of individual harmonics in the auditory periphery, which is not
achieved with the current generation of implants.

DOI: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.07.007
PMID: 20674733 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


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