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Recent psychophysical studies in bilateral cochlear implant users have shown that interaural timing difference (ITD) sensitivity with electrical stimulation varies depending on the place of stimulation along the cochlear array. While these studies have measured ITD sensitivity at single electrode places separately, it is important to understand how ITD sensitivity is affected when multiple electrodes are stimulated together because multi-electrode stimulation is required for representation of complex sounds. Multi-electrode stimulation may lead to poorer overall performance due to interference from places with poor ITD sensitivity, or from channel interaction due to electrical current spread. Alternatively, multi-electrode stimulation might result in overall good sensitivity if listeners can extract the most reliable ITD cues available. ITD just noticeable differences (JNDs) were measured for different multi-electrode configurations. Results showed that multi-electrode ITD JNDs were poorer than ITD JNDs for the best single-electrode pair. However, presenting ITD information along the whole array appeared to produce better sensitivity compared with restricting stimulation to the ends of the array, where ITD JNDs were comparable to the poorest single-electrode pair. These findings suggest that presenting ITDs in one cochlear region only may not be optimal for maximizing ITD sensitivity in multi-electrode stimulation.


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