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Ruff, Suzan; Bocklet, Tobias; Nöth, Elmar; Müller, Joachim; Hoster, Eva; Schuster, Maria (2017): Speech Production Quality of Cochlear Implant Users with Respect to Duration and Onset of Hearing Loss. In: ORL-Journal for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Vol. 79, No. 5: pp. 282-294
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PURPOSE To assess whether postlingual onset and shorter duration of deafness before cochlear implant (CI) provision predict higher speech intelligibility results of CI users. METHODS For an objective judgement of speech intelligibility, we used an automatic speech recognition system computing the word recognition rate (WR) of 50 adult CI users and 50 age-matched control individuals. All subjects were recorded reading a standardized text. Subjects were divided into three groups: pre- or perilingual deafness (A), both >2 years before implantation, postlingual deafness <2 years before implantation (B), or postlingual deafness >2 years before implantation (C). RESULTS CI users with short duration of postlingual deafness (B) had a significantly higher WR (median 74%) than CI users with long duration of postlingual deafness (C; 68%, p < 0.001) or pre-/perilingual onset (A; 56%, p < 0.001). Compared to their control groups only CI users with short duration of postlingual deafness reached similar WR, others showed significantly lower WR. Other factors such as hearing loss onset, duration of CI use, or duration of amplified hearing showed no consistent influence on speech quality. CONCLUSIONS The speech production quality of adult CI users shows dependencies on the onset and duration of deafness. These features need to be considered while planning rehabilitation.