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Effect of inter-phase gap on the sensitivity of cochlear implant users to electrical stimulation
CARLYON, R.P., Van Wieringen, A., DEEKS, J.M., LONG, C.J., Lyzenga, J. & Wouters, J.
Hearing Research, 205(1-2), 210-224
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Human behavioral thresholds for trains of biphasic pulses applied to a single channel of Nucleus CI24 and LAURA cochlear implants were measured as a function of interphase gap (°ßIPG°®). Experiment 1 used bipolar stimulation, a 100-pps pulse rate, and a 400-ms stimulus duration. In one condition, the two phases of each pulse had opposite polarity. Thresholds continued to drop by 9-10 dB as IPG was increased from near zero to the longest value tested (2900É›s for CI24, 4900É›s for LAURA). This time course is much longer than reported for single-cell recordings from animals. In a second condition, the two phases of each pulse had the same polarity, which alternated from pulse to pulse. Thresholds were independent of IPG, and similar to those in condition 1 at IPG=4900É›s. Experiment 2 used monopolar stimulation. One condition was similar to condition 1 of experiment 1, and thresholds also dropped up to the longest IPG studied (2900 É›s). This also happened when the pulse rate was reduced to 20 pps, and when only a single pulse was presented on each trial. Keeping IPG constant at 8É›s and adding an extra biphasic pulse x ms into each period produced thresholds that were roughly independent of x, indicating that the effect of IPG in the other conditions was not due to a release from refractoriness at sites central to the auditory nerve. Experiment 3 measured thresholds at three IPGs, which were less than, equal to, and more than one half of the interval between successive pulses. Thresholds were lowest at the intermediate IPG. The results of all experiments could be fit by a linear model consisting of a lowpass filter based on the function relating threshold to the frequency of sinusoidal electrical stimulation. The data and model have implications for reducing the power consumption of cochlear implants.