Sentence Recognition in Quiet and Noise by Pediatric Cochlear Implant Users: Relationships to Spoken Language

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Objective:We investigated associations between sentence recognition and spoken language for children with cochlear implants (CI) enrolled in the Childhood Development after Cochlear Implantation (CDaCI) study.Study Design:In a prospective longitudinal study, sentence recognition percent-correct scores and language standard scores were correlated at 48-, 60-, and 72-months post-CI activation.Setting:Six tertiary CI centers in the United States.Patients:Children with CIs participating in the CDaCI study.Intervention (s):Cochlear implantation.Main Outcome Measure (s):Sentence recognition was assessed using the Hearing In Noise Test for Children (HINT-C) in quiet and at +10, +5, and 0 dB signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). Spoken language was assessed using the Clinical Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL) core composite and the antonyms, paragraph comprehension (syntax comprehension), syntax construction (expression), and pragmatic judgment tests.Results:Positive linear relationships were found between CASL scores and HINT-C sentence scores when the sentences were delivered in quiet and at +10 and +5 dB S/N, but not at 0 dB S/N. At 48 months post-CI, sentence scores at +10 and +5 dB S/N were most strongly associated with CASL antonyms. At 60 and 72 months, sentence recognition in noise was most strongly associated with paragraph comprehension and syntax construction.Conclusions:Children with CIs learn spoken language in a variety of acoustic environments. Despite the observed inconsistent performance in different listening situations and noise-challenged environments, many children with CIs are able to build lexicons and learn the rules of grammar that enable recognition of sentences.

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