Volume 131, Issue 1, January 2012
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
Perceptually optimized gain function for cochlear implant signal-to-noise ratio based noise reduction131(2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3665990View Description Hide Description
Noise reduction in cochlear implants has achieved significant speech perception improvements through spectral subtraction and signal-to-noise ratio based noise reduction techniques. Current methods use gain functions derived through mathematical optimization or motivated by normal listening psychoacoustic experiments. Although these gain functions have been able to improve speech perception, recent studies have indicated that they are not optimal for cochlear implantnoise reduction. This study systematically investigates cochlear implant recipients’ speech perception and listening preference of noise reduction with a range of gain functions. Results suggest an advantageous gain function and show that gain functions currently used for noise reduction are not optimal for cochlear implant recipients. Using the cochlear implant optimised gain function, a 27% improvement over the current advanced combination encoder (ACE) stimulation strategy in speech weighted noise and a 7% improvement over current noise reduction strategies were observed in babble noise conditions. The optimized gain function was also most preferred by cochlear implant recipients. The CI specific gain function derived from this study can be easily incorporated into existing noise reduction strategies, to further improve listening performance for CI recipients in challenging environments.
Mapping auditory nerve firing density using high-level compound action potentials and high-pass noise maskinga)131(2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3664052View Description Hide Description
Future implementation of regenerative treatments for sensorineural hearing loss may be hindered by the lack of diagnostic tools that specify the target(s) within the cochlea and auditory nerve for delivery of therapeutic agents. Recent research has indicated that the amplitude of high-level compound action potentials (CAPs) is a good predictor of overall auditory nerve survival, but does not pinpoint the location of neural damage. A location-specific estimate of nerve pathology may be possible by using a masking paradigm and high-level CAPs to map auditory nerve firing density throughout the cochlea. This initial study in gerbil utilized a high-pass masking paradigm to determine normative ranges for CAP-derived neural firing density functions using broadband chirp stimuli and low-frequency tonebursts, and to determine if cochlear outer hair cell (OHC) pathology alters the distribution of neural firing in the cochlea. Neural firing distributions for moderate-intensity (60 dB pSPL) chirps were affected by OHC pathology whereas those derived with high-level (90 dB pSPL) chirps were not. These results suggest that CAP-derived neural firing distributions for high-level chirps may provide an estimate of auditory nerve survival that is independent of OHC pathology.
131(2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3666024View Description Hide Description
A methodology for the estimation of individual loudness growth functions using tone-burst otoacoustic emissions (TBOAEs) and tone-burst auditory brainstem responses (TBABRs) was proposed by Silva and Epstein [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 127, 3629–3642 (2010)]. This work attempted to investigate the application of such technique to the more challenging cases of hearing-impaired listeners. The specific aims of this study were to (1) verify the accuracy of this technique with eight hearing-impaired listeners for 1- and 4-kHz tone-burst stimuli, (2) investigate the effect of residual noise levels from the TBABRs on the quality of the loudness growth estimation, and (3) provide a public dataset of physiological and psychoacoustical responses to a wide range of stimuli intensity. The results show that some of the physiological loudness growth estimates were within the mean-square-error range for standard psychoacoustical procedures, with closer agreement at 1 kHz. The median residual noise in the TBABRs was found to be related to the performance of the estimation, with some listeners showing strong improvements in the estimated loudness growth function when controlling for noise levels. This suggests that future studies using evoked potentials to estimate loudness growth should control for the estimated averaged residual noise levels of the TBABRs.