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Predicting cochlear implant recipient benefits from noise reduction
Mauger S.J. , Heasman J.M.
Cochlear Limited, Research & Applications, Melbourne, Australia
Introduction and aim: Noise reduction technologies have been very successful in providing speech
understanding benefits for cochlear implant recipients. Group outcomes in a number of research and clinical
studies have reported between 1 and 2 dB improvement from noise reduction technologies. These
improvements are very significant and provide significant real-world benefit over processors with no noise
reduction. Even more impressive is the listening quality ratings, where users report very large improvement in
listening quality with noise reduction. Although almost all individuals gain benefit with noise reduction and
acceptance is very high, there is a wide range of individual outcomes. In particular, individual speech
understanding results from our research group range from 0 dB to over 6 dB improvement. This study
investigates possible patient factors which could contribute to outcomes, and describes a method to predict
benefits from noise reduction technologies. These results help understand noise reduction technologies for
cochlear implants and provide important additional information to clinicians, particularly when counseling
potential upgrade recipients.
Material and methods: This study completes a retrospective analysis of 60 cochlear implant recipients. Speech
testing results analyzed compared a baseline condition without noise reduction to a test condition with noise
reduction enabled. Individual improvement results were collected and used in a multi-regression analysis to
investigate the contribution of, thresholds, comfort levels, age, length of implantation, gender and baseline
performance level.
Results: Results show that noise reduction provides significant speech understanding improvements across all
studies included in this analysis. A very significant correlation between baseline performance and improvement
with noise reduction was found (p< 0.01). The correlation showed that poorer performers received larger benefits
compared to good performers. Other correlation results did not provide any correlation outcomes.
Conclusion: Speech understanding benefits from noise reduction are correlated to individual baseline
performers. Understanding individual performance will aid clinicians predict benefits from noise reduction, and
understand the expected range of outcomes from this technology.