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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2011 Jun;75(6):793-800. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2011.03.009. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Mandarin Chinese speech recognition by pediatric cochlear implant users.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital, Fudan University, 83 Fenyang Road, Shanghai 200031, China.



Because of difficulties associated with pediatric speech testing, most pediatric cochlear implant (CI) speech studies necessarily involve basic and simple perceptual tasks. There are relatively few studies regarding Mandarin-speaking pediatric CI users' perception of more difficult speech materials (e.g., words and sentences produced by multiple talkers). Difficult speech materials and tests necessarily require older pediatric CI users, who may have different etiologies of hearing loss, duration of deafness, CI experience. The present study investigated how pediatric CI patient demographics influence speech recognition performance with relatively difficult test materials and methods.


In this study, open-set recognition of multi-talker (two males and two females) Mandarin Chinese disyllables and sentences were measured in 37 Mandarin-speaking pediatric CI users. Subjects were grouped according to etiology of deafness and previous acoustic hearing experience. Group 1 subjects were all congenitally deafened with little-to-no acoustic hearing experience. Group 2 subjects were not congenitally deafened and had substantial acoustic hearing experience prior to implantation. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed within each group using subject demographics such as age at implantation and age at testing.


Pediatric CI performance was generally quite good. For Group 1, mean performance was 82.3% correct for disyllables and 82.8% correct for sentences. For Group 2, mean performance was 76.6% correct for disyllables and 84.4% correct for sentences. For Group 1, multiple linear regression analyses showed that age at implantation predicted disyllable recognition, and that age at implantation and age at testing predicted sentence recognition. For Group 2, neither age at implantation nor age at testing predicted disyllable or sentence recognition. Performance was significantly better with the female than with the male talkers.


Consistent with previous studies' findings, early implantation provided a significant advantage for profoundly deaf children. Performance for both groups was generally quite good for the relatively difficult materials and tasks, suggesting that open-set word and sentence recognition may be useful in evaluating speech performance with older pediatric CI users. Differences in disyllable recognition between Groups 1 and 2 may reflect differences in adaptation to electric stimulation. The Group 1 subjects developed speech patterns exclusively via electric stimulation, while the Group 2 subjects adapted to electric stimulation relative to previous acoustic patterns.

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