Cochlear implants provide users with limited spectral and temporal information. In this study, the amount of spectral and temporal information was systematically varied through simulations of cochlear implant processors using a noise-excited vocoder. Spectral information was controlled by varying the number of channels between 1 and 16, and temporal information was controlled by varying the lowpass cutoff frequencies of the envelope extractors from 1 to 512 Hz. Consonants and vowels processed using those conditions were presented to seven normal-hearing native-English-speaking listeners for identification. The results demonstrated that both spectral and temporal cues were important for consonant and vowel recognition with the spectral cues having a greater effect than the temporal cues for the ranges of numbers of channels and lowpass cutoff frequencies tested. The lowpass cutoff for asymptotic performance in consonant and vowel recognition was 16 and 4 Hz, respectively. The number of channels at which performance plateaued for consonants and vowels was 8 and 12, respectively. Within the above-mentioned ranges of lowpass cutoff frequency and number of channels, the temporal and spectral cues showed a tradeoff for phoneme recognition. Information transfer analyses showed different relative contributions of spectral and temporal cues in the perception of various phonetic/acoustic features.
Kim, B. J., Chang, S. A., Yang, J., Oh, S. H., & Xu, L. (2015). Relative contributions of spectral and temporal cues to Korean phoneme recognition. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0131807