Direct electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve can be used to restore some degree of hearing to the profoundly deaf. Percepts due to electrical stimulation have characteristics corresponding approximately to the acoustic percepts of loudness, pitch, and timbre. To encode speech as a pattern of electrical stimulation, it is necessary to determine the effects of the stimulus parameters on these percepts. The effects of the three basic stimulus parameters of level, repetition rate, and stimulation location on subjects’ percepts were examined. Pitch difference limens arising from changes in rate of stimulation increase as the stimulating rate increases, up to a saturation point of between 200 and 1000 pulses per second. Changes in pitch due to electrode selection depend upon the subject, but generally agree with a tonotopic organization of the human cochlea. Further, the discriminability of such place‐pitch percepts seems to be dependent on the degree of current spread in the cochlea. The effect of stimulus level on perceived pitch is significant but is highly dependent on the individual tested. The results of these experiments are discussed in terms of their impact on speech‐processing strategies and their relevance to acoustic pitch perception.

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