This study investigated the relationship between electrode discrimination and speech recognition in 11 postlingually deafened adult cochlear implant subjects who were implanted with the Nucleus/Cochlear Corporation multichannel device. The discriminability of each electrode included in a subject’s clinical map was measured using adaptive and fixed-level discrimination tasks. Considerable variability in electrode discriminability was observed across subjects. Two subjects could discriminate all electrodes, and discrimination performance by the remaining nine subjects varied from near perfect to very poor. In these nine subjects, the results obtained from the discrimination tasks were used to create a map that contained only discriminable electrodes, and subjects’ performance on speech recognition tasks using this experimental map was measured. Four different speech recognition tests were administered: a nine-choice closed-set medial vowel recognition task, a 14-choice closed-set medial consonant recognition task, the NU6 Monosyllabic Words Test [T. W. Tillman and T. Carhart, Tech. Rep. No. SAM-TR-66-55, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas (1966)] scored for both words and phonemes correct, and the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) Everyday Sentences test [H. Davis and S. R. Silverman, Hearing and Deafness (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York, 1978)]. Seven of the nine subjects tested with the experimental map showed significant improvement on at least one speech recognition measure, even though the experimental map contained fewer electrodes than the original map. Three subjects’ scores improved significantly on the CID Everyday Sentences test, three subjects’ scores improved significantly on the NU6 Monosyllabic Words test, and five subjects’ scores improved significantly on the NU6 Monosyllabic Words test scored for phonemes correct. None of the subjects’ scores improved significantly on either the vowel or consonant tests. No significant correlation was observed between electrode discrimination ability and speech recognition scores or between electrode discrimination ability and improvement in speech recognition scores when programmed with the experimental map. The results of this study suggest that electrode discrimination tasks may be used to improve speech recognition of some cochlear implant subjects, and that each electrode site does not necessarily provide perceptually distinct information.

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