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Abstract

The objective of the study is to assess the hearing performance of cochlear implant users in three device microphone configurations: omni-directional, directional, and beamformer (BEAMformer two-adaptive noise reduction system), in localization and speech perception tasks in dynamically changing listening environments. Seven cochlear implant users aided with Cochlear CM-24 devices with Freedom speech processor participated in the study. For the localization test in quiet and in background noise, subjects demonstrated significant differences between different microphone settings. Confusion matrices showed that in about 70% cases cochlear implant subjects correctly localized sounds within a horizontal angle of 30-40◦ (±1◦ loudspeaker apart from signal source). However localization in noise was less accurate as shown by a large number of considerable errors in localization in the confusion matrices. Average results indicated no significant difference between three microphone configurations. For speech presented from the front 3 dB SNR improvements in speech intelligibility in three subjects can be observed for beamforming system compared to directional and omni-directional microphone settings. The benefits of using different microphone settings in cochlear implant devices in dynamically changing listening conditions depend on the particular sound environment
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Abstract

The article reports three experiments conducted to determine whether musicians possess better ability of recognising the sources of natural sounds than non-musicians. The study was inspired by reports which indicate that musical training develops not only musical hearing, but also enhances various non-musical auditory capabilities. Recognition and detection thresholds were measured for recordings of environmental sounds presented in quiet (Experiment 1) and in the background of a noise masker (Experiment 2). The listener’s ability of sound source recognition was inferred from the recognition-detection threshold gap (RDTG) defined as the difference in signal level between the thresholds of sound recognition and sound detection. Contrary to what was expected from reports of enhanced auditory abilities of musicians, the RDTGs were not smaller for musicians than for non-musicians. In Experiment 3, detection thresholds were measured with an adaptive procedure comprising three interleaved stimulus tracks with different sounds. It was found that the threshold elevation caused by stimulus interleaving was similar for musicians and non-musicians. The lack of superiority of musicians over non-musicians in the auditory tasks explored in this study is explained in terms of a listening strategy known as casual listening mode, which is a basis for auditory orientation in the environment.
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