Perception of temporal patterns is crucial to speech understanding and music perception in normal hearing, and is fundamental in the design and implementation of processing strategies for cochlear implants. Two experiments described here investigated the effect of stimulation mode (monopolar versus tripolar) on interpulse interval discrimination using single-electrode stimulation (experiment 1) and dual-electrode stimulation (experiment 2). Experiment 1 required participants to discriminate stimuli containing different interpulse intervals and experiment 2 required listeners to discriminate between two dual-electrode stimuli that had the same temporal pattern on each electrode, but differed in inter-electrode timing. The hypotheses were that (i) stimulation mode would affect the ability to distinguish interpulse interval patterns on a single electrode and (ii) the electrode separation range in which subjects were sensitive to inter-electrode timing would be more restricted in tripolar than in monopolar stimulation. Results in nine cochlear implant users showed that mode did not have a significant mean effect on either the ability to discriminate interpulse intervals in single-electrode stimulation or the range of electrode separation in dual-electrode stimulation in which participants were sensitive to inter-electrode timing. In conclusion, tripolar stimulation did not show any advantage in delivering temporal information within or across channels in this group.
- cochlear implants, stimulation mode, tripolar mode, temporal perception