Cochlear implants can be an effective treatment for specific hearing losses. They may often be the only way to restore hearing for profoundly deaf people. Therefore, it is very important to understand all processes that may influence effective fitting of these devices. This study examined how speech perception is influenced by the channel discrimination of the cochlear implant for the whole electrode array. The virtual channels (current steering) were used with three different inter-channel distances; 1, 0.5 and 0.25. The results of the study indicated a worse channel discrimination than shown in previous studies. However, it was not possible to directly compare all studies due to their different designs. The channel discrimination scores were significantly variable both between channels and between subjects. The speech perception was measured in silence, in the presence of a noise and in the free field using consonant-vowels-consonant words. The relation between channel discrimination and speech perception was significant and speech perception was better if the discrimination was better. These results are important as they show that the channel discrimination of the cochlear implant may be used as a predictor of the speech understanding performance. However, much more research is needed to make it clinically useful for cochlear implant fitting, as the authors noted.

Channel discrimination along all contact of the cochlear implant electrode array and its relation to speech perception.
Biesheuvel JD, Briaire JJ, de Jong MAM, et al.
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Joanna Lemanska

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

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