Effects of Noise and Reverberation on Virtual Sound Localization for Listeners with Bilateral Cochlear Implants

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Objective: This study investigated the effects of both noise and reverberation on the ability of listeners with bilateral cochlear implants (BCIs) to localize and the feasibility of using a virtual localization test to evaluate BCI users. Design: Seven adults with normal hearing (NH) and two adults with BCIs participated. All subjects completed the virtual localization test in quiet and at 0, -4, -8 dB signal-to-noise ratio in simulated anechoic and reverberant environments. BCI users were also tested at +4 dB signal-to-noise ratio. The noise source was at 0°. A three-word phrase was presented at 70 dB SPL from nine simulated locations in the frontal horizontal plane (±90°). Results: Results revealed significantly poorer localization accuracy for BCI users than NH listeners in all conditions. Significant reverberation effects were observed for BCI users but not listeners with NH. Conclusion: Noise and reverberation have a significant effect on BCI users, and their localization ability can be evaluated using these virtual tests.



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