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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Benefits of localization and speech perception with multiple noise sources in listeners with a short-electrode cochlear implant

Camille C Dunn, Ann Perreau, Bruce Gantz, Richard S Tyler
Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 2010, 21 (1): 44-51
20085199

BACKGROUND: Research suggests that for individuals with significant low-frequency hearing, implantation of a short-electrode cochlear implant may provide benefits of improved speech perception abilities. Because this strategy combines acoustic and electrical hearing within the same ear while at the same time preserving low-frequency residual acoustic hearing in both ears, localization abilities may also be improved. However, very little research has focused on the localization and spatial hearing abilities of users with a short-electrode cochlear implant.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate localization abilities for listeners with a short-electrode cochlear implant who continue to wear hearing aids in both ears. A secondary purpose was to document speech perception abilities using a speech-in-noise test with spatially separate noise sources.

RESEARCH DESIGN: Eleven subjects that utilized a short-electrode cochlear implant and bilateral hearing aids were tested on localization and speech perception with multiple noise locations using an eight-loudspeaker array. Performance was assessed across four listening conditions using various combinations of cochlear implant and/or hearing aid use.

RESULTS: Results for localization showed no significant difference between using bilateral hearing aids and bilateral hearing aids plus the cochlear implant. However, there was a significant difference between the bilateral hearing aid condition and the implant plus use of a contralateral hearing aid for all 11 subjects. Results for speech perception showed a significant benefit when using bilateral hearing aids plus the cochlear implant over use of the implant plus only one hearing aid.

CONCLUSION: Combined use of both hearing aids and the cochlear implant show significant benefits for both localization and speech perception in noise for users with a short-electrode cochlear implant. These results emphasize the importance of low-frequency information in two ears for the purpose of localization and speech perception in noise.

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