The Relationship Between Spectral Modulation Detection and Speech Recognition: Adult Versus Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients.


Adult cochlear implant (CI) recipients demonstrate a reliable relationship between spectral modulation detection and speech understanding. Prior studies documenting this relationship have focused on postlingually deafened adult CI recipients-leaving an open question regarding the relationship between spectral resolution and speech understanding for adults and children with prelingual onset of deafness. Here, we report CI performance on the measures of speech recognition and spectral modulation detection for 578 CI recipients including 477 postlingual adults, 65 prelingual adults, and 36 prelingual pediatric CI users. The results demonstrated a significant correlation between spectral modulation detection and various measures of speech understanding for 542 adult CI recipients. For 36 pediatric CI recipients, however, there was no significant correlation between spectral modulation detection and speech understanding in quiet or in noise nor was spectral modulation detection significantly correlated with listener age or age at implantation. These findings suggest that pediatric CI recipients might not depend upon spectral resolution for speech understanding in the same manner as adult CI recipients. It is possible that pediatric CI users are making use of different cues, such as those contained within the temporal envelope, to achieve high levels of speech understanding. Further investigation is warranted to investigate the relationship between spectral and temporal resolution and speech recognition to describe the underlying mechanisms driving peripheral auditory processing in pediatric CI users.