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Verbal Processing Speed and Executive Functioning in Long-Term Cochlear Implant Users (AuBuchon et al., 2015)

posted on 30.07.2021, 23:41 authored by Angela M. AuBuchon, David B. Pisoni, William G. Kronenberger
Purpose The purpose of this study was to report how verbal rehearsal speed (VRS), a form of covert speech used to maintain verbal information in working memory, and another verbal processing speed measure, perceptual encoding speed, are related to 3 domains of executive function (EF) at risk in cochlear implant (CI) users: verbal working memory, fluency-speed, and inhibition-concentration.
Method EF, speech perception, and language outcome measures were obtained from 55 prelingually deaf, long-term CI users and matched controls with normal hearing (NH controls). Correlational analyses were used to assess relations between VRS (articulation rate), perceptual encoding speed (digit and color naming), and the outcomes in each sample.
Results CI users displayed slower verbal processing speeds than NH controls. Verbal rehearsal speed was related to 2 EF domains in the NH sample but was unrelated to EF outcomes in CI users. Perceptual encoding speed was related to all EF domains in both groups.
Conclusions Verbal rehearsal speed may be less influential for EF quality in CI users than for NH controls, whereas rapid automatized labeling skills and EF are closely related in both groups. CI users may develop processing strategies in EF tasks that differ from the covert speech strategies routinely employed by NH individuals.


This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01DC00011, R01DC009581, and T32DC000012. We thank Bethany Colson and Shirley Henning for administering speech, language, and executive function tasks. We also thank Lindsay Stone and Abigail Hoff for help with verbal rehearsal speed measurements.