The goal of this study was to determine whether sequentially acquired bilateral implants provide improved speech understanding relative to performance with unilateral implants in varying sound source configurations that may more closely represent daily listening environments. Participants were divided into higher and lower performance groups based upon their best unilateral performance on monosyllabic words in quiet and asked to repeat Bamford-Kowal-Bench Speech-in-Noise (BKB-SIN) sentences in unilateral and bilateral listening conditions. The sentences were always presented from directly in front, while competing noise was presented from varying locations. Results indicated that the bilateral listening condition yielded significantly better scores compared to the unilateral listening condition across all participants, with the higher performance group's scores significantly better than for the lower performance group. Both groups had similar gains in performance. No significant differences were observed amongst sound sources, contrary to the original hypothesis. Among demographic variables, only unilateral performance on words in quiet and onset of deafness were highly correlated with bilateral performance. As the initial grouping variable addressed performance in quiet, a second analysis regrouped participants by onset of deafness (pre- vs. postlingual) This regrouping yielded even greater group differences overall, and some noise configurations were now significantly different for the postlingually deafened participants. Taken together, these results suggest that postlingually deafened participants may be able to use higher level binaural processes established prior to deafness and not available to prelingually deafened listeners.
|Advisor:||Hawks, John W., Krumm, Mark|
|Commitee:||Burgess, Sloane, Folk, Jocelyn, Krumm, Mark|
|School:||Kent State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Adults, Bilateral cochlear implants, Speech-in-noise|
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