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Improved Speech Perception for Bimodal Implants (Fowler et al., 2016)

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posted on 28.01.2022, 22:29 authored by Jennifer R. Fowler, Jessica L. Eggleston, Kelly M. Reavis, Garnett P. McMillan, Lina A. J. Reiss
Purpose: The objective was to determine whether speech perception could be improved for bimodal listeners (those using a cochlear implant [CI] in one ear and hearing aid in the contralateral ear) by removing low-frequency information provided by the CI, thereby reducing acoustic–electric overlap.
Method: Subjects were adult CI subjects with at least 1 year of CI experience. Nine subjects were evaluated in the CI-only condition (control condition), and 26 subjects were evaluated in the bimodal condition. CIs were programmed with 4 experimental programs in which the low cutoff frequency (LCF) was progressively raised. Speech perception was evaluated using Consonant-Nucleus-Consonant words in quiet, AzBio sentences in background babble, and spondee words in background babble.
Results: The CI-only group showed decreased speech perception in both quiet and noise as the LCF was raised. Bimodal subjects with better hearing in the hearing aid ear (< 60 dB HL at 250 and 500 Hz) performed best for words in quiet as the LCF was raised. In contrast, bimodal subjects with worse hearing (> 60 dB HL at 250 and 500 Hz) performed similarly to the CI-only group.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that reducing low-frequency overlap of the CI and contralateral hearing aid may improve performance in quiet for some bimodal listeners with better hearing.

Funding

This research was funded by the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon (Lina A. J. Reiss) and by a National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5P30DC010755 (Paul Flint and Lina A. J. Reiss). Research equipment was provided by Cochlear (Sydney, Australia) and MED-EL (Innsbruck, Austria).

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