Speech Understanding in Quiet and Noise in Bilateral Users of the MED-EL COMBI 40/40+ Cochlear Implant System


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Abstract

ObjectiveThe purpose of the study was to investigate speech understanding in quiet and noise in subjects bilaterally implanted with multi-channel cochlear implants.DesignNine adults bilaterally implanted with MED-EL implants were included in the study. The subjects were tested in three conditions: with both implants, with the right implant only, and with the left implant only. Speech tests included monosyllables in quiet and sentences in noise (10 dB signal to noise ratio). Speech was presented from the front, and noise was presented from either 90° or 270° azimuth.ResultsAll subjects reported benefit from bilateral stimulation. Speech scores for all subjects were higher with bilateral than with unilateral stimulation. The average score across subjects for sentence understanding was 31.1 percentage points higher with both cochlear implants compared with the cochlear implant ipsilateral to the noise, and 10.7 percentage points higher with both cochlear implants compared with the cochlear implant contralateral to the noise. The average score for recognition of monosyllabic words was 18.7 percentage points higher with both cochlear implants than with one cochlear implant. All of these differences in average scores were significant at the 5% level.ConclusionsBilateral cochlear implantation provides a significant benefit in speech understanding in both quiet and noise.

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