Approximations to the Voice of a Cochlear Implant: Explorations With Single-Sided Deaf Listeners

  • Michael F. Dorman (Creator)
  • Sarah J. Natale (Creator)
  • Leslie C. Baxter (Creator)
  • Daniel Zeitler (Creator)
  • Matthew L. Carlson (Creator)
  • Artur Lorens (Creator)
  • Henryk Skarzynski (Creator)
  • Jeroen P. M. Peters (Creator)
  • Jennifer Torres (Creator)
  • Jack H. Noble (Creator)
  • Michael F. Dorman (Creator)
  • Leslie Baxter (Creator)



Fourteen single-sided deaf listeners fit with an MED-EL cochlear implant (CI) judged the similarity of clean signals presented to their CI and modified signals presented to their normal-hearing ear. The signals to the normal-hearing ear were created by (a) filtering, (b) spectral smearing, (c) changing overall fundamental frequency (F0), (d) F0 contour flattening, (e) changing formant frequencies, (f) altering resonances and ring times to create a metallic sound quality, (g) using a noise vocoder, or (h) using a sine vocoder. The operations could be used singly or in any combination. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 was a complete match to the sound of the CI, the mean match score was 8.8. Over half of the matches were 9.0 or higher. The most common alterations to a clean signal were band-pass or low-pass filtering, spectral peak smearing, and F0 contour flattening. On average, 3.4 operations were used to create a match. Upshifts in formant frequencies were implemented most often for electrode insertion angles less than approximately 500°. A relatively small set of operations can produce signals that approximate the sound of the MED-EL CI. There are large individual differences in the combination of operations needed. The sound files in Supplemental Material approximate the sound of the MED-EL CI for patients fit with 28-mm electrode arrays.
Date made available2020
Publisherfigshare SAGE Publications

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