Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Kathryn Arehart


Cochlear implant (CI) processing has been optimized for speech perception, but music perception has been a secondary consideration. A proposed signal processing strategy called focused stimulation may help with music perception for cochlear implant users. This strategy aims to improve spectral resolution (compared to previous signal processing strategies) by reducing the amount of current spread that occurs in the CI electrode array. In the following experiment, 14 normal hearing young adults listened and rated the sound quality of music samples that were processed to simulate a CI with various amounts of simulated electrical spread. Ratings were performed using MUltiple Stimulus Hidden Reference and Anchor (MUSHRA) protocol. Input resolution was manipulated through spectral smearing and acoustic differences in genre. It was found that with more electrical spread, participants had difficulty hearing changes in spectral resolution. In addition, the effects differed across musical genres. The results show that minimizing electrical spread improves spectral resolution in normal hearing participants, but these effects need to be tested on CI users.