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Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2016 Dec;1(6):154-162. doi: 10.1002/lio2.38. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Non-auditory neurocognitive skills contribute to speech recognition in adults with cochlear implants.

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Department of Otolaryngology The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus Ohio USA.



Unexplained variability in speech recognition outcomes among postlingually deafened adults with cochlear implants (CIs) is an enormous clinical and research barrier to progress. This variability is only partially explained by patient factors (e.g., duration of deafness) and auditory sensitivity (e.g., spectral and temporal resolution). This study sought to determine whether non-auditory neurocognitive skills could explain speech recognition variability exhibited by adult CI users.


Thirty postlingually deafened adults with CIs and thirty age-matched normal-hearing (NH) controls were enrolled.


Participants were assessed for recognition of words in sentences in noise and several non-auditory measures of neurocognitive function. These non-auditory tasks assessed global intelligence (problem-solving), controlled fluency, working memory, and inhibition-concentration abilities.


For CI users, faster response times during a non-auditory task of inhibition-concentration predicted better recognition of sentences in noise; however, similar effects were not evident for NH listeners.


Findings from this study suggest that inhibition-concentration skills play a role in speech recognition for CI users, but less so for NH listeners. Further research will be required to elucidate this role and its potential as a novel target for intervention.


cochlear implants; sensorineural hearing loss; speech perception

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