Sound Source Localization by Normal-Hearing Listeners, Hearing-Impaired Listeners and Cochlear Implant Listeners

Michael Dorman, Louise H. Loiselle, Sarah J. Cook, William Yost, René H. Gifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Objective: Our primary aim was to determine whether listeners in the following patient groups achieve localization accuracy within the 95th percentile of accuracy shown by younger or older normal-hearing (NH) listeners: (1) hearing impaired with bilateral hearing aids, (2) bimodal cochlear implant (CI), (3) bilateral CI, (4) hearing preservation CI, (5) single-sided deaf CI and (6) combined bilateral CI and bilateral hearing preservation. Design: The listeners included 57 young NH listeners, 12 older NH listeners, 17 listeners fit with hearing aids, 8 bimodal CI listeners, 32 bilateral CI listeners, 8 hearing preservation CI listeners, 13 single-sided deaf CI listeners and 3 listeners with bilateral CIs and bilateral hearing preservation. Sound source localization was assessed in a sound-deadened room with 13 loudspeakers arrayed in a 180-degree arc. Results: The root mean square (rms) error for the NH listeners was 6 degrees. The 95th percentile was 11 degrees. Nine of 16 listeners with bilateral hearing aids achieved scores within the 95th percentile of normal. Only 1 of 64 CI patients achieved a score within that range. Bimodal CI listeners scored at a level near chance, as did the listeners with a single CI or a single NH ear. Listeners with (1) bilateral CIs, (2) hearing preservation CIs, (3) single-sided deaf CIs and (4) both bilateral CIs and bilateral hearing preservation, all showed rms error scores within a similar range (mean scores between 20 and 30 degrees of error). Conclusion: Modern CIs do not restore a normal level of sound source localization for CI listeners with access to sound information from two ears.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalAudiology and Neurotology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Cochlear implants
  • ound source localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Speech and Hearing


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