Effects of bilateral automatic gain control synchronization in cochlear implants with and without head movements: Sound source localization in the frontal hemifield

M. Torben Pastore, Kathryn R. Pulling, Chen Chen, William A. Yost, Michael Dorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: For bilaterally implanted patients, the automatic gain control (AGC) in both left and right cochlear implant (CI) processors is usually neither linked nor synchronized. At high AGC compression ratios, this lack of coordination between the two processors can distort interaural level differences, the only useful interaural difference cue available to CI patients. This study assessed the improvement, if any, in the utility of interaural level differences for sound source localization in the frontal hemifield when AGCs were synchronized versus independent and when listeners were stationary versus allowed to move their heads. Method: Sound source identification of broadband noise stimuli was tested for seven bilateral CI patients using 13 loudspeakers in the frontal hemifield, under conditions where AGCs were linked and unlinked. For half the conditions, patients remained stationary; in the other half, they were encouraged to rotate or reorient their heads within a range of approximately ± 30° during sound presentation. Results: In general, those listeners who already localized reasonably well with independent AGCs gained the least from AGC synchronization, perhaps because there was less room for improvement. Those listeners who performed worst with independent AGCs gained the most from synchronization. All listeners performed as well or better with synchronization than without; however, intersubject variability was high. Head movements had little impact on the effectiveness of synchronization of AGCs. Conclusion: Synchronization of AGCs offers one promising strategy for improving localization performance in the frontal hemifield for bilaterally implanted CI patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2811-2824
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume64
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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