An experimental psychophysical interface has been developed using Hearworks Pty Ltd’s
SPEAR3 research sound processor, which is compatible with Cochlear Corporation’s Nucleus
CI22 and CI24 implants. Modifications to the assembly code program file that resides
in the SPEAR3 allow the parameters of a given stimulus to be updated on a trial-by-trial
basis due to the responses given by a cochlear implant subject through a Visual Basic
graphical user interface. Using a single program for the digital signal processor,
this graphical user interface may be tailored to perform both traditional and original
psychophysical experiments. The research sound processor also allows implementations
of novel sound processing algorithms. Threshold and maximum comfort levels were measured
with the SPEAR3, and one subject’s levels were compared to those measured with the
commercially available Nucleus Implant Communicator (NIC v2). No significant difference
was found. Three cochlear implant subjects performed a rate discrimination task using
the SPEAR3-based experimental interface, and the trends found in the resulting data
imply that the SPEAR3-based experimental interface is functioning properly and may
be used in the future for other psychophysical investigations.
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