Noise enhances modulation sensitivity in cochlear implant listeners: Stochastic resonance in a prosthetic sensory system?

Monita Chatterjee, Mark E. Robert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cochlear implants restore auditory sensitivity to the profoundly hearing-impaired by means of electrical stimulation of residual auditory nerve fibers. Sensorineural hearing loss results in a loss of spontaneous activity among the remaining auditory neurons and is accompanied by a reduction in the normal stochastic nature of neural firing in response to electric stimulation. It has been hypothesized that the natural stochasticity of the neural response is important for auditory signal processing and that introducing some optimal amount of noise into the stimulus may improve auditory perception through the implant. In this article we show that, for soft but audible stimuli, an optimal amount of "prosthetic" noise significantly improves sensitivity to envelope modulation in cochlear implant listeners. A nonmonotonic function relates modulation sensitivity and noise level, suggesting the presence of stochastic resonance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Cochlear implants
  • Modulation
  • Noise
  • Stochastic resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems

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