Binaural pitch fusion: Pitch averaging and dominance in hearing-impaired listeners with broad fusion

Yonghee Oh, Lina A.J. Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Both bimodal cochlear implant and bilateral hearing aid users can exhibit broad binaural pitch fusion, the fusion of dichotically presented tones over a broad range of pitch differences between ears [Reiss, Ito, Eggleston, and Wozny. (2014). J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 15(2), 235-248; Reiss, Eggleston, Walker, and Oh. (2016). J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 17(4), 341-356; Reiss, Shayman, Walker, Bennett, Fowler, Hartling, Glickman, Lasarev, and Oh. (2017). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 143(3), 1909-1920]. Further, the fused binaural pitch is often a weighted average of the different pitches perceived in the two ears. The current study was designed to systematically measure these pitch averaging phenomena in bilateral hearing aid users with broad fusion. The fused binaural pitch of the reference-pair tone combination was initially measured by pitch-matching to monaural comparison tones presented to the pair tone ear. The averaged results for all subjects showed two distinct trends: (1) The fused binaural pitch was dominated by the lower-pitch component when the pair tone was either 0.14 octaves below or 0.78 octaves above the reference tone; (2) pitch averaging occurred when the pair tone was between the two boundaries above, with the most equal weighting at 0.38 octaves above the reference tone. Findings from two subjects suggest that randomization or alternation of the comparison ear can eliminate this asymmetry in the pitch averaging range. Overall, these pitch averaging phenomena suggest that spectral distortions and thus binaural interference may arise during binaural stimulation in hearing-impaired listeners with broad fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-791
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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