Auditory Cognitive Training for Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Understanding speech in noise is the biggest challenge faced by individuals with cochlear implants (CIs). Improving speech-in-noise perception for pediatric CI recipients continues to remain a high priority for all stakeholders. This study was designed to investigate the efficacy of working memory training for improving speech-in-noise recognition for children with CIs.


Fourteen children with CIs (aged 6 to 15 years) received adaptive, home-based training on forward digit span task for 5 weeks, while 13 children with CIs participated in backward digit span training. Seventeen age-matched children with CIs in the control group received a placebo. Outcome measures included forward and backward digit span and speech recognition threshold for digit triplets in noise at pretraining, post-training, and 5-week follow-up. Performance measures from 26 age-matched children with normal hearing were also obtained only at the baseline session to generate normative standards for comparison.


Digit span scores were significantly higher at post-training and follow-up compared with pretraining for both forward- and backward-trained groups. Both trained groups showed similar training-induced shifts. The control group showed no such improvement. There was no effect of training on the speech recognition threshold. Children with CIs showed significantly lower digit span scores and a higher speech recognition threshold relative to children with normal hearing.


Training improves working memory capacity as measured by digit spans for children with CIs. Training-induced improvements are stable for at least 5 weeks. Learning effects demonstrate near-transfer, from forward to backward digit span and vice versa, but failed to show far-transfer to speech-in-noise recognition. Current evidence is not supportive of cognitive training for improving speech-in-noise performance for children with CIs.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles