Relationship Between Speech Recognition in Quiet and Noise and Fitting Parameters, Impedances and ECAP Thresholds in Adult Cochlear Implant Users

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OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to identify parameters which are related to speech recognition in quiet and in noise of cochlear implant (CI) users. These parameters may be important to improve current fitting practices. DESIGN: Adult CI users who visited the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, for their annual follow-up between January 2015 and December 2017 were retrospectively identified. After applying inclusion criteria, the final study population consisted of 138 postlingually deaf adult Cochlear CI users. Prediction models were built with speech recognition in quiet and in noise as the outcome measures, and aided sound field thresholds, and parameters related to fitting (i.e., T and C levels, dynamic range [DR]), evoked compound action potential thresholds and impedances as the independent variables. A total of 33 parameters were considered. Separate analyses were performed for postlingually deafened CI users with late onset (LO) and CI users with early onset (EO) of severe hearing impairment. RESULTS: Speech recognition in quiet was not significantly different between the LO and EO groups. Speech recognition in noise was better for the LO group compared with the EO group. For CI users in the LO group, mean aided thresholds, mean electrical DR, and measures to express the impedance profile across the electrode array were identified as predictors of speech recognition in quiet and in noise. For CI users in the EO group, the mean T level appeared to be a significant predictor in the models for speech recognition in quiet and in noise, such that CI users with elevated T levels had worse speech recognition in quiet and in noise. CONCLUSIONS: Significant parameters related to speech recognition in quiet and in noise were identified: aided thresholds, electrical DR, T levels, and impedance profiles. The results of this study are consistent with previous study findings and may guide audiologists in their fitting practices to improve the performance of CI users. The best performance was found for CI users with aided thresholds around the target level of 25 dB HL, and an electrical DR between 40 and 60 CL. However, adjustments of T and/or C levels to obtain aided thresholds around the target level and the preferred DR may not always be acceptable for individual CI users. Finally, clinicians should pay attention to profiles of impedances other than a flat profile with mild variations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-947
Number of pages13
JournalEar and Hearing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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