Binaural pitch fusion is the fusion of dichotically presented tones that evoke different pitches between the ears. In normal-hearing (NH) listeners, the frequency range over which binaural pitch fusion occurs is usually <0.2 octaves. Recently, broad fusion ranges of 1-4 octaves were demonstrated in bimodal cochlear implant users. In the current study, it was hypothesized that hearing aid (HA) users would also exhibit broad fusion. Fusion ranges were measured in both NH and hearing-impaired (HI) listeners with hearing losses ranging from mild-moderate to severe-profound, and relationships of fusion range with demographic factors and with diplacusis were examined. Fusion ranges of NH and HI listeners averaged 0.17 ± 0.13 octaves and 1.7 ± 1.5 octaves, respectively. In HI listeners, fusion ranges were positively correlated with a principal component measure of the covarying factors of young age, early age of hearing loss onset, and long durations of hearing loss and HA use, but not with hearing threshold, amplification level, or diplacusis. In NH listeners, no correlations were observed with age, hearing threshold, or diplacusis. The association of broad fusion with early onset, long duration of hearing loss suggests a possible role of long-term experience with hearing loss and amplification in the development of broad fusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics