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The detection of amplitude modulation (AM) in quiet or in noise improves when the AM carrier is preceded by noise, an effect that has been attributed to the medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR). We investigate whether this improvement can occur without the MOCR by measuring AM sensitivity for cochlear implant (CI) users, whose MOCR effects are circumvented as a result of the electrical stimulation provided by the CI. AM detection thresholds were measured monaurally for short (50 ms) AM probes presented at the onset (early condition) or delayed by 300 ms (late condition) from the onset of a broadband noise. The noise was presented ipsilaterally, contralaterally and bilaterally to the test ear. Stimuli were processed through an experimental, time-invariant sound processing strategy. On average, thresholds were 4 dB better in the late than in the early condition and the size of the improvement was similar for the three noise lateralities. The pattern and magnitude of the improvement was broadly consistent with that for normal hearing listeners [Marrufo-Pérez et al., 2018, J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 19:147-161]. Because the electrical stimulation provided by CIs is independent from the middle-ear muscle reflex (MEMR) or the MOCR, this shows that mechanisms other than the MEMR or the MOCR can facilitate AM detection in noisy backgrounds.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Hearing research
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