Open set speech understanding with cochlear implants, without speechreading, is nowadays a common finding. However, there is a large variation in speech understanding between cochlear implant users. We tried to find pre-operative parameters which predicted the post-operative results. Thirty-seven adult post-lingually deafened Nucleus cochlear implant users with a mean age of 46 years (range 16 68) and a mean duration of deafness of 15 years (range 1.5-47) were studied. Pre-operatively, we performed pure-tone audiometry, round window and ear canal electrical stimulation, psychological tests and imaging. Additionally, we measured pre-operatively speech understanding in the auditory, the visual and the audiovisual conditions with several tests which were also administered after 6 and 12 months' implant experience. Correlation analysis between the pre-operative variables and the post-operative factors showed that duration of deafness and residual hearing are the most important predictors. The temporal difference limen in pre-operative round window electrical stimulation is a secondary predictor.