Factors Associated with Speech Recognition Outcomes for Prelingually Deaf Cochlear Implant Users: A CASE SERIES

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  • In this technological day and age, the advancements in cochlear implant (CI) technology and procedures for individuals with profound sensorineural hearing loss are constantly improving. Research shows that earlier implantation in children leads to better speech and language development outcomes (Manrique, 2004) and, specifically, that implantation before two years of age is better than later (Holt & Svirsky, 2008). Thus, if \"earlier is better,\" individuals who are prelingually deafened, or, those whose hearing loss occurred before two years of age (Tye-Murray, 2009) may demonstrate less than ideal performance on clinical measures if he/she were not implanted until after the critical period of speech and language acquisition. This is because, without hearing, a person may experience difficulty learning and understanding spoken language (Gantz, Tyler, Woodworth, et al., 1994). Furthermore, CI users' speech and language skills are often not as refined as individuals with normal hearing (Shpak et al., 2009), especially in prelingual CI users (Fitzpatrick & Schramm, 2006). In this paper, an individual deafened before two years of age but implanted post-critical speech/language development shall be termed \"prelingual CI user.\" Performance outcomes differ due to many variables \"affecting performance in adults and children\" (Cosetti & Waltzman, 2012). Maura Cosetti and Susan Waltzman (2012) discuss a myriad of factors associated with good and poor speech recognition scores, including CI technology, age at implantation, duration of deafness, neuroplasticity, meningitis, syndromes, hearing level, speech performance, mode of communication, education, rehabilitation services, family expectations and motivation, etc. The objective of our research is to investigate eight prelingual CI users by reviewing seven factors which may affect their outcomes (speech recognition scores). They are gender, etiology, age of implantation, type of device, communication (oral, speech reading, or sign), patient compliance (attendance for scheduled medical appointments), and family and environment. The aim of this study is to understand how the outcomes for prelingual CI users can be improved through increasing awareness of the seven factors in this study. The research question in this paper asks, 'what factors may be associated with positive outcomes following cochlear implantation for prelingual CI users?' The end result of our research will highlight the individual differences between patients and provide information about the factors related to speech recognition outcomes. Health professionals may consider these factors when counseling their clients regarding their outcome. CI users may use this information to improve their outcome.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International