Sound source localization by hearing preservation patients with and without symmetrical low-frequency acoustic hearing.


The aim of this article was to study sound source localization by cochlear implant (CI) listeners with low-frequency (LF) acoustic hearing in both the operated ear and in the contralateral ear. Eight CI listeners had symmetrical LF acoustic hearing and 4 had asymmetrical LF acoustic hearing. The effects of two variables were assessed: (i) the symmetry of the LF thresholds in the two ears and (ii) the presence/absence of bilateral acoustic amplification. Stimuli consisted of low-pass, high-pass, and wideband noise bursts presented in the frontal horizontal plane. Localization accuracy was 23° of error for the symmetrical listeners and 76° of error for the asymmetrical listeners. The presence of a unilateral CI used in conjunction with bilateral LF acoustic hearing does not impair sound source localization accuracy, but amplification for acoustic hearing can be detrimental to sound source localization accuracy.