Effects of auditory training on adult cochlear implant patients: a preliminary report

Cochlear Implants Int. 2004 Sep;5 Suppl 1:84-90. doi: 10.1179/cim.2004.5.Supplement-1.84.

Abstract

The process of learning new electrically stimulated speech patterns can be difficult for many cochlear implant users, especially congenitally deafened patients. Some implant users receive little benefit from the device, even after long-term experience. While many factors may influence individual patient outcomes, the paucity of auditory rehabilitation resources, especially for adult users, may contribute to some implant patients' poorer performance. The present study examined whether moderate auditory training, using speech stimuli, can improve the speech-recognition performance of adult cochlear implant patients. Ten cochlear implant patients with limited speech-recognition capabilities used a recently developed computer-based auditory rehabilitation tool to train at home for a period of one month or longer. Before training began, baseline speech-recognition performance was measured for each patient; baseline performance was measured for at least two weeks, until performance asymptoted. After baseline measures were complete, subjects were instructed to train themselves at home using novel monosyllable words one hour per day, five days per week. Subjects then returned to the lab every two weeks for retesting with the baseline speech materials. Preliminary results showed that there was significant improvement in all patients' speech perception performance after moderate training. While most patients did improve, the amount and time course of improvement was highly variable. Moderate training using a computer-based auditory rehabilitation tool can be an effective approach to improve cochlear implant patients' speech recognition, especially for poorer-performing implant users.