Perceptual fusion of polyphonic pitch in cochlear implant users

Patrick J. Donnelly, Benjamin Z. Guo, Charles J. Limb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In music, multiple pitches often occur simultaneously, an essential feature of harmony. In the present study, the authors assessed the ability of cochlear implant (CI) users to perceive polyphonic pitch. Acoustically presented stimuli consisted of one, two, or three superposed tones with different fundamental frequencies (f0). The normal hearing control group obtained significantly higher mean scores than the CI group. CI users performed near chance levels in recognizing two- and three-pitch stimuli, and demonstrated perceptual fusion of multiple pitches as single-pitch units. These results suggest that limitations in polyphonic pitch perception may significantly impair music perception in CI users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)EL128-EL133
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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