Binaural pitch fusion is the fusion of dichotically presented tones that evoke different pitches between the ears. In normal-hearing (NH) listeners, the frequency range over which binaural pitch fusion occurs is usually <0.2 octaves. Recently, broad fusion ranges of 1–4 octaves were demonstrated in bimodal cochlear implant users. In the current study, it was hypothesized that hearing aid (HA) users would also exhibit broad fusion. Fusion ranges were measured in both NH and hearing-impaired (HI) listeners with hearing losses ranging from mild-moderate to severe-profound, and relationships of fusion range with demographic factors and with diplacusis were examined. Fusion ranges of NH and HI listeners averaged 0.17 ± 0.13 octaves and 1.7 ± 1.5 octaves, respectively. In HI listeners, fusion ranges were positively correlated with a principal component measure of the covarying factors of young age, early age of hearing loss onset, and long durations of hearing loss and HA use, but not with hearing threshold, amplification level, or diplacusis. In NH listeners, no correlations were observed with age, hearing threshold, or diplacusis. The association of broad fusion with early onset, long duration of hearing loss suggests a possible role of long-term experience with hearing loss and amplification in the development of broad fusion.
Binaural pitch fusion: Comparison of normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listenersa)
Portions of this work were presented in “Binaural pitch fusion is broader in hearing-impaired listeners than normal-hearing listeners,” 2015 Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Baltimore, MD, USA, February 2015, and “Abnormal binaural spectral integration in hearing aid and cochlear implant users,” 2014 Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, San Diego, CA, USA, February 2014.
Lina A. J. Reiss, Corey S. Shayman, Emily P. Walker, Keri O. Bennett, Jennifer R. Fowler, Curtis L. Hartling, Bess Glickman, Michael R. Lasarev, Yonghee Oh; Binaural pitch fusion: Comparison of normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 March 2017; 141 (3): 1909–1920. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4978009
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