Effects of the relative timing of opposite-polarity pulses on loudness for cochlear implant listeners

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The symmetric biphasic pulses used in contemporary cochlear implants (CIs) consist of both cathodic and anodic currents, which may stimulate different sites on spiral ganglion neurons and, potentially, interact with each other. The effect on the order of anodic and cathodic stimulation on loudness at short inter-pulse intervals (IPIs; 0–800 μs) is investigated. Pairs of opposite-polarity pseudomonophasic (PS) pulses were used and the amplitude of each pulse was manipulated independently. In experiment 1 the two PS pulses differed in their current level in order to elicit the same loudness when presented separately. Six users of the Advanced Bionics CI (Valencia, CA) loudness-ranked trains of the pulse pairs using a midpoint-comparison procedure. Stimuli with anodic-leading polarity were louder than those with cathodic-leading polarity for IPIs shorter than 400 μs. This effect was small—about 0.3 dB—but consistent across listeners. When the same procedure was repeated with both PS pulses having the same current level (experiment 2), anodic-leading stimuli were still louder than cathodic-leading stimuli at very short intervals. However, when using symmetric biphasic pulses (experiment 3) the effect disappeared at short intervals and reversed at long intervals. Possible peripheral sources of such polarity interactions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume144
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2751-2763
ISSN0001-4966
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
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