Effects of a cochlear implant simulation on immediate memory in normal-hearing adults

Rose A. Burkholder, David B. Pisoni, Mario A. Svirsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study assessed the effects of stimulus misidentification and memory processing errors on immediate memory span in 25 normal-hearing adults exposed to degraded auditory input simulating signals provided by a cochlear implant. The identification accuracy of degraded digits in isolation was measured before digit span testing. Forward and backward digit spans were shorter when digits were degraded than when they were normal. Participants' normal digit spans and their accuracy in identifying isolated digits were used to predict digit spans in the degraded speech condition. The observed digit spans in degraded conditions did not differ significantly from predicted digit spans. This suggests that the decrease in memory span is related primarily to misidentification of digits rather than memory processing errors related to cognitive load. These findings provide complementary information to earlier research on auditory memory span of listeners exposed to degraded speech either experimentally or as a consequence of a hearing-impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-558
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Acoustic simulations
  • Auditory memory
  • Cochlear implants
  • Deafness
  • Digit span

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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