Effect of Increased Daily Cochlear Implant Use on Auditory Perception in Adults.


Purpose Despite the recommendation for cochlear implant (CI) processor use during all waking hours, variability in average daily wear time remains high. Previous work has shown that objective wear time is significantly correlated with speech recognition outcomes. We aimed to investigate the causal link between daily wear time and speech recognition outcomes and assess one potential underlying mechanism, spectral processing, driving the causal link. We hypothesized that increased CI use would result in improved speech recognition via improved spectral processing. Method Twenty adult CI recipients completed two study visits. The baseline visit included auditory perception testing (speech recognition and spectral processing measures), questionnaire administration, and documentation of data logging from the CI software. Participants watched an educational video, and they were informed of the compensation schedule. Participants were then asked to increase their daily CI use over a 4-week period during everyday life. Baseline measures were reassessed following the 4-week period. Results Seventeen out of 20 participants increased their daily CI use. On average, participants' speech recognition improved by 3.0, 2.4, and 7.0 percentage points per hour of increased average daily CI use for consonant-nucleus-consonant words, AzBio sentences, and AzBio sentences in noise, respectively. Questionnaire scores were similar between visits. Spectral processing showed significant improvement and accounted for a small amount of variance in the change in speech recognition values. Conclusions Improved consistency of processor use over a 4-week period yielded significant improvements in speech recognition scores. Though a significant factor, spectral processing is likely not the only mechanism driving improvement in speech recognition; further research is warranted.