Identification Accuracy of Safety-Relevant Environmental Sounds in Adult Cochlear Implant Users

Laryngoscope. 2023 Sep;133(9):2388-2393. doi: 10.1002/lary.30475. Epub 2022 Nov 1.


Objective: Examine cochlear implant (CI) users' ability to identify safety-relevant environmental sounds, imperative for safety, independence, and personal well-being.

Methods: Twenty-one experienced adult CI users completed an Environmental Sound Identification (ESI) test consisting of 42 common environmental sounds, 28 of which were relevant to personal safety, along with 14 control sounds. Prior to sound identification, participants were shown sound names and asked to rate the familiarity and, separately, relevance to safety of each corresponding sound on a 1-5 scale.

Results: Overall ESI accuracy was 57% correct for the safety-relevant sounds and 55% correct for control sounds. Participants rated safety-relevant sounds as more important to safety and more familiar than the non-safety sounds. ESI accuracy significantly correlated with familiarity ratings.

Conclusion: The present findings suggest mediocre ESI accuracy in postlingual adult CI users for safety-relevant and other environmental sounds. Deficits in the identification of these sounds may put CI listeners at increased risk of accidents or injuries and may require a specific rehabilitation program to improve CI outcomes.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 133:2388-2393, 2023.

Keywords: cochlear implants; environmental sound identification; environmental sounds; safety-relevant sounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Cochlear Implantation*
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Humans
  • Sound
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Speech Perception*