The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America vol:119 issue:1 pages:491-506
Although in a number of experiments noise-band vocoders have been shown to provide acoustic models for speech perception in cochlear implants (CI), the present study assesses in four experiments whether and under what limitations noise-band vocoders can be used as an acoustic model for pitch perception in CI. The first two experiments examine the effect of spectral smearing on simulated electrode discrimination and fundamental frequency (FO) discrimination. The third experiment assesses the effect of spectral mismatch in an FO-discrimination task with two different vocoders. The fourth experiment investigates the effect of amplitude compression on modulation rate discrimination. For each experiment, the results obtained from normal-hearing subjects presented with vocoded stimuli are compared to results obtained directly from CI recipients. The results show that place pitch sensitivity drops with increased spectral smearing and that place pitch cues for multi-channel stimuli can adequately be mimicked when the discriminability of adjacent channels is adjusted by varying the spectral slopes to match that of CI subjects. The results also indicate that temporal pitch sensitivity is limited for noise-band carriers with low center frequencies and that the absence of a compression function in the vocoder might alter the saliency of the temporal pitch cues.