Factors influencing speech perception in noise for 5-yearold children using hearing aids or cochlear implants
Van Buynder, Patricia
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Objective: We investigated the factors influencing speech perception in babble for 5-year-old children with hearing loss who were using hearing aids (HAs) or cochlear implants (CIs). Design: Speech reception thresholds (SRTs) for 50% correct identification were measured in two conditions - speech collocated with babble, and speech with spatially separated babble. The difference in SRTs between the two conditions give a measure of binaural unmasking, commonly known as spatial release from masking (SRM). Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the influence of a range of demographic factors on outcomes. Study sample: Participants were 252 children enrolled in the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment (LOCHI) study. Results: Children using HAs or CIs required a better signal-to-noise ratio to achieve the same level of performance as their normal-hearing peers, but demonstrated SRM of a similar magnitude. For children using HAs, performance was significantly influenced by cognitive and language abilities. For children using CIs, age at CI activation and language ability were significant predictors of outcomes. Conclusions: Speech perception in children with hearing loss can be enhanced by improving their language abilities. Early age at cochlear implantation was also associated with better outcomes.