Patients utilizing a hearing aid and a cochlear implant: speech perception and localization.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this pilot study was to document speech perception and localization abilities in patients who use a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other ear. DESIGN: We surveyed a group of 111 cochlear implant patients and asked them whether they used a hearing aid on their unimplanted ear. The first three patients who were available were tested on word and sentence recognition and localization tasks. Speech stimuli were presented from the front in quiet and in noise. In the latter conditions, noise was either from the front, the right, or the left. Localization was tested with noise bursts presented at 45 degrees from the right or left. In addition we asked the patients about their abilities to integrate the information from both devices. RESULTS: Speech perception tests in quiet showed a binaural advantage for only one of the three patients for words and none for sentences. With speech and noise both in front of the patient, two patients performed better with both devices than with either device alone. With speech in front and noise on the hearing aid side, no binaural advantage was seen, but with noise on the cochlear implant side, one patient showed a binaural advantage. Localization ability improved with both devices for two patients. The third patient had above-chance localization ability with his implant alone. CONCLUSIONS: A cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other ear can provide binaural advantages. The patient who did not show a clear binaural advantage had the poorest hearing aid alone performance. The absolute and relative levels of performance at each ear are likely to influence the potential for binaural integration.
Tyler, RS; Parkinson, AJ; Wilson, BS; Witt, S; Preece, JP; Noble, W
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