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Speech Performance and Sound Localization in a Complex Noisy Environment in Bilaterally Implanted Adult Patients.

Abstract : Objective: To evaluate speech performance, in quiet and noise, and localization ability in adult patients who had undergone bilateral and simultaneous implantation. Study Design: Prospective multi-center study. Methods: Twenty-seven adult patients with profound or total hearing loss were bilaterally implanted in a single-stage procedure, and simultaneously activated (Med-El, Combi 40/40+). Subjects were assessed before implantation and at 3, 6 and 12 months after switch-on. Speech perception tests in monaural and binaural conditions were performed in quiet and in noise using disyllabic words, with speech coming from the front and a cocktail party background noise coming from 5 loudspeakers. Sound localization measurements were also performed in background noise coming from 5 loudspeakers positioned from -90 degrees to +90 degrees azimuth in the horizontal plane, and using a speech stimulus. Results: There was a bilateral advantage at 12 months in quiet (77 +/- 5.0% in bilateral condition, 67 +/- 5.3% for the better ear, p < 0.005) and in noise (signal-to-noise ratio +15 dB: 63 +/- 5.9% in bilateral condition, 55 +/- 6.9% for the better ear, p < 0.05). Considering unilateral speech scores recorded in quiet at 12 months, subjects were categorized as 'good performers' (speech comprehension score >/=60% for the better ear, n = 19) and 'poor performers' (n = 8). Subjects were also categorized as 'asymmetrical' (difference between their 2 unilateral speech scores >/=20%, n = 11) or 'symmetrical' (n = 16). The largest advantage (bilateral compared to the better ear) was obtained in poor performers: +19% compared to +7% in good performers (p < 0.05). In the group of good performers, there was a bilateral advantage only in cases of symmetrical results between the 2 ears (n = 10). In the group of poor performers, the bilateral advantage was shown in both patients with symmetrical (n = 6) and asymmetrical results (n = 2). In bilateral conditions, the sound localization ability in noise was improved compared to monaural conditions in patients with symmetrical and asymmetrical performance between the 2 ears. No preoperative factor (age, duration of deafness, use of hearing aids, etiology, etc.) could predict the asymmetrical performance, nor which ear would be the best. Conclusion: This study demonstrates a bilateral advantage (at 12 months after the implantation) in speech intelligibility and sound localization in a complex noisy environment. In quiet, this bilateral advantage is shown in cases of poor performance of both ears, and in cases of good performance with symmetrical results between the 2 ears. No preoperative factor can predict the best candidates for a simultaneous bilateral implantation.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 11:36:39 AM
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Isabelle Mosnier, Olivier Sterkers, Jean-Pierre Bebear, Benoit Godey, Alain Robier, et al.. Speech Performance and Sound Localization in a Complex Noisy Environment in Bilaterally Implanted Adult Patients.. Audiology and Neurotology, Karger, 2008, 14 (2), pp.106-114. ⟨10.1159/000159121⟩. ⟨inserm-00349481⟩



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