Electro-acoustic stimulation: Acoustic and electric pitch comparisons Conference Paper uri icon


  • For simultaneous acoustic and electric stimulation to be perceived as complementary, it may be beneficial for hearing aids and cochlear implants (CI) to be adjusted to provide compatible pitch sensations. To this end, estimates of the pitch perceived for a set of acoustic and electric stimuli were obtained from 14 CI users who had usable low-frequency hearing, either in the non-implanted ear or in both ears. The subjects assigned numerical pitch estimates to each of 5 acoustic pure tones and 5 single-electrode electric pulse trains. On average, the acoustic frequency that corresponded in pitch to stimulation on the most apical electrode was approximately 480 Hz. This was about 1 octave lower than the frequency expected from Greenwood's frequency-place function applied to estimates of the electrode insertion angle based on X-ray images. Furthermore, evidence was found suggesting that pitch decreased with increasing duration of CI use. Pitch estimates from 5 subjects who completed the experiment before experiencing any other sounds through their CI were generally close to the values expected from a recently published frequency map for the cochlear spiral ganglion. Taken together, these findings suggest that some perceptual adaptation may occur that would compensate in part for the apparent mismatch between the intracochlear position of the electrodes and the acoustic frequencies assigned to them in the sound processor.

publication date

  • April 1, 2009