Psychoacoustic and demographic factors for speech recognition of older adult cochlear implant users


Purpose. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of aging and cochlear implant (CI) on psychoacoustic and speech recognition abilities and to assess the relative contributions of psychoacoustic and demographic factors to speech recognition of older CI (OCI) users. Method. Twelve OCI users, 12 older acoustic-hearing (OAH) listeners age-matched to OCI users, and 12 younger normal-hearing (YNH) listeners underwent tests of temporal amplitude modulation detection, temporal gap detection in noise, and spectral–temporal modulated ripple discrimination. Speech reception thresholds were measured for sentence recognition in multitalker, speech-babble noise. Results. Statistical analyses showed that, for the small sample of OAH listeners, the degree of hearing loss did not significantly affect any outcome measure. Temporal resolution, spectral resolution, and speech recognition all significantly degraded with both age and the use of a CI (i.e., YNH better than OAH and OAH better than OCI performance). Although both were significantly correlated with OCI users’ speech recognition, the duration of CI use no longer had a significant effect on speech recognition once the effect of spectral–temporal ripple discrimination performance was taken into account. For OAH listeners, the only significant predictor of speech recognition was temporal gap detection performance. Conclusion. The preliminary results suggest that speech recognition of OCI users may improve with longer duration of CI use, mainly due to higher perceptual acuity to spectral–temporal modulated ripples in acoustic stimuli.

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 63(6), 1712-1725