ABSTRACT: Subjective questionnaires are informative in understanding the difficulties faced by patients with hearing loss. Our intent was to establish and validate a new questionnaire that encompasses situations emphasizing binaural hearing. The Spatial Hearing Questionnaire is a self-report assessment tool with eight subscales representing questions; pertaining to the perception of male, female, and children's voices; music in quiet; source localization; understanding speech in quiet; and understanding speech in noise.The Spatial Hearing Questionnaire, composed of 24 items, is scored from 0 to 100. It was administered to 142 subjects using one or two cochlear implants. Speech perception and localization abilities were measured, and the Speech, Spatial, and Other Qualities questionnaire was completed to evaluate validity of the questionnaire. Psychometric tests were performed to test the reliability and factor structure of the Spatial Hearing Questionnaire.Results showed high internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.98) and good construct validity (correlations between the Spatial Hearing Questionnaire and other test measures, including the Speech, Spatial, and Other Qualities, were significant). A preliminary factor analysis revealed scores loaded on three factors, representing the following conditions: localization, speech in noise and music in quiet, and speech in quiet, explaining 64.9, 13.0, and 5.3% of the variance, respectively. Most of the questionnaire items (12/24) loaded onto the first factor that represents the subscale related to source localization. Mean scores on the Spatial Hearing Questionnaire were higher for subjects with bilateral cochlear implants than for subjects with a unilateral cochlear implant, consistent with other research and supporting construct validity.The Spatial Hearing Questionnaire is a reliable and valid questionnaire that can be completed independently by most patients in about 10 minutes. It is likely to be a valuable tool for clinicians and researchers to measure spatial hearing abilities.
Project description:HYPOTHESIS:For experienced adult cochlear implant (CI) users who have reached a plateau in performance, a clinician-guided aural rehabilitation (CGAR) approach can improve speech recognition and hearing-related quality of life (QOL). BACKGROUND:A substantial number of CI users do not reach optimal performance in terms of speech recognition ability and/or personal communication goals. Although self-guided computerized auditory training programs have grown in popularity, compliance and efficacy for these programs are poor. We propose that CGAR can improve speech recognition and hearing-related QOL in experienced CI users. METHODS:Twelve adult CI users were enrolled in an 8-week CGAR program guided by a speech-language pathologist and audiologist. Nine patients completed the program along with pre-AR and immediate post-AR testing of speech recognition (AzBio sentences in quiet and in multitalker babble, Consonant-Nucleus-Consonant words in quiet), QOL (Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire, Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults/Elderly, and Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale), and neurocognitive functioning (working memory capacity, information-processing speed, inhibitory control, speed of lexical/phonological access, and nonverbal reasoning). Pilot data for these nine patients are presented. RESULTS:From pre-CGAR to post-CGAR, group mean improvements in word recognition were found. Improvements were also demonstrated on some composite and subscale measures of QOL. Patients who demonstrated improvements in word recognition were those who performed most poorly at baseline. CONCLUSIONS:CGAR represents a potentially efficacious approach to improving speech recognition and QOL for experienced CI users. Limitations and considerations in implementing and studying aural rehabilitation approaches are discussed.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Substantial resources are required to provide lifelong postoperative care to people with cochlear implants. Most patients visit the clinic annually. We introduced a person-centred remote follow-up pathway, giving patients telemedicine tools to use at home so they would only visit the centre when intervention was required. OBJECTIVES:To assess the feasibility of comparing a remote care pathway with the standard pathway in adults using cochlear implants. DESIGN:Two-arm randomised controlled trial. Randomisation used a minimisation approach, controlling for potential confounding factors. Participant blinding was not possible, but baseline measures occurred before allocation. SETTING:University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service: provider of National Health Service care. PARTICIPANTS:60 adults who had used cochlear implants for at least 6 months. INTERVENTIONS:Control group (n=30) followed usual care pathway.Remote care group (n=30) received care remotely for 6 months incorporating: home hearing in noise test, online support tool and self-adjustment of device (only 10 had compatible equipment). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Primary: change in patient activation; measured using the Patient Activation Measure.Secondary: change in hearing and quality of life; qualitative feedback from patients and clinicians. RESULTS:One participant in the remote care group dropped out. The remote care group showed a greater increase in patient activation than the control group. Changes in hearing differed between the groups. The remote care group improved on the Triple Digit Test hearing test; the control group perceived their hearing was worse on the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale questionnaire. Quality of life remained unchanged in both groups. Patients and clinicians were generally positive about remote care tools and wanted to continue. CONCLUSIONS:Adults with cochlear implants were willing to be randomised and complied with the protocol. Personalised remote care for long-term follow-up is feasible and acceptable, leading to more empowered patients. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:ISRCTN14644286.
Project description:Introduction:Most cochlear implant (CI) users have difficulty in listening tasks that rely strongly on perception of frequency changes (e.g., speech perception in noise, musical melody perception, etc.). Some previous studies using behavioral or subjective assessments have shown that short-term music training can benefit CI users' perception of music and speech. Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings may reveal the neural basis for music training benefits in CI users. Objective:To examine the effects of short-term music training on CI hearing outcomes using a comprehensive test battery of subjective evaluation, behavioral tests, and EEG measures. Design:Twelve adult CI users were recruited for a home-based music training program that focused on attentive listening to music genres and materials that have an emphasis on melody. The participants used a music streaming program (i.e., Pandora) downloaded onto personal electronic devices for training. The participants attentively listened to music through a direct audio cable or through Bluetooth streaming. The training schedule was 40 min/session/day, 5 days/week, for either 4 or 8 weeks. The pre-training and post-training tests included: hearing thresholds, Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale (SSQ12) questionnaire, psychoacoustic tests of frequency change detection threshold (FCDT), speech recognition tests (CNC words, AzBio sentences, and QuickSIN), and EEG responses to tones that contained different magnitudes of frequency changes. Results:All participants except one finished the 4- or 8-week training, resulting in a dropout rate of 8.33%. Eleven participants performed all tests except for two who did not participate in EEG tests. Results showed a significant improvement in the FCDTs as well as performance on CNC and QuickSIN after training (p < 0.05), but no significant improvement in SSQ scores (p > 0.05). Results of the EEG tests showed larger post-training cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) in seven of the nine participants, suggesting a better cortical processing of both stimulus onset and within-stimulus frequency changes. Conclusion:These preliminary data suggest that extensive, focused music listening can improve frequency perception and speech perception in CI users. Further studies that include a larger sample size and control groups are warranted to determine the efficacy of short-term music training in CI users.
Project description:Whether, and if so when, a second-ear cochlear implant should be provided to older, unilaterally implanted children is an ongoing clinical question. This study evaluated rate of speech recognition progress for the second implanted ear and with bilateral cochlear implants in older sequentially implanted children and evaluated localization abilities.A prospective longitudinal study included 24 bilaterally implanted children (mean ear surgeries at 5.11 and 14.25 years). Test intervals were every 3-6 months through 24 months postbilateral. Test conditions were each ear and bilaterally for speech recognition and localization.Overall, the rate of progress for the second implanted ear was gradual. Improvements in quiet continued through the second year of bilateral use. Improvements in noise were more modest and leveled off during the second year. On all measures, results from the second ear were poorer than the first. Bilateral scores were better than either ear alone for all measures except sentences in quiet and localization.Older sequentially implanted children with several years between surgeries may obtain speech understanding in the second implanted ear; however, performance may be limited and rate of progress gradual. Continued contralateral ear hearing aid use and reduced time between surgeries may enhance outcomes.
Project description:Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in an unprecedented manner. It has aggravated psychological distress in parents of children with cochlear implants. Continuous use of a speech sound processor is critical for auditory stimulation in children with cochlear implants. However, movement restrictions imposed have affected access to hearing healthcare services. The current study explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hearing healthcare access for children with cochlear implants. Methods: An online questionnaire survey was conducted among parents of children with cochlear implants. Results: A total of 24 parents responded to the questionnaire. All the respondents reported that COVID-19 has a significant impact on access to hearing health services for their children. Speech processor breakdown and disconnection from the auditory mode of communication had a critical influence on behavioral changes in children. Conclusions: The current study highlights the hurdles faced by the parents in order to access hearing health services for their children. The use of innovative methods such as remote tele-audiology will be the way forward to tackle challenges faced by the parents.
Project description:Importance:To date, no randomized clinical trial on the comparison between simultaneous and sequential bilateral cochlear implants (BiCIs) has been performed. Objective:To investigate the hearing capabilities and the self-reported benefits of simultaneous BiCIs compared with those of sequential BiCIs. Design, Setting, and Participants:A multicenter randomized clinical trial was conducted between January 12, 2010, and September 2, 2012, at 5 tertiary referral centers among 40 participants eligible for BiCIs. Main inclusion criteria were postlingual severe to profound hearing loss, age 18 to 70 years, and a maximum duration of 10 years without hearing aid use in both ears. Data analysis was conducted from May 24 to June 12, 2016. Interventions:The simultaneous BiCI group received 2 cochlear implants during 1 surgical procedure. The sequential BiCI group received 2 cochlear implants with an interval of 2 years between implants. Main Outcomes and Measures:First, the results 1 year after receiving simultaneous BiCIs were compared with the results 1 year after receiving sequential BiCIs. Second, the results of 3 years of follow-up for both groups were compared separately. The primary outcome measure was speech intelligibility in noise from straight ahead. Secondary outcome measures were speech intelligibility in noise from spatially separated sources, speech intelligibility in silence, localization capabilities, and self-reported benefits assessed with various hearing and quality of life questionnaires. Results:Nineteen participants were randomized to receive simultaneous BiCIs (11 women and 8 men; median age, 52 years [interquartile range, 36-63 years]), and another 19 participants were randomized to undergo sequential BiCIs (8 women and 11 men; median age, 54 years [interquartile range, 43-64 years]). Three patients did not receive a second cochlear implant and were unavailable for follow-up. Comparable results were found 1 year after simultaneous or sequential BiCIs for speech intelligibility in noise from straight ahead (difference, 0.9 dB [95% CI, -3.1 to 4.4 dB]) and all secondary outcome measures except for localization with a 30° angle between loudspeakers (difference, -10% [95% CI, -20.1% to 0.0%]). In the sequential BiCI group, all participants performed significantly better after the BiCIs on speech intelligibility in noise from spatially separated sources and on all localization tests, which was consistent with most of the participants' self-reported hearing capabilities. Speech intelligibility-in-noise results improved in the simultaneous BiCI group up to 3 years following the BiCIs. Conclusions and Relevance:This study shows comparable objective and subjective hearing results 1 year after receiving simultaneous BiCIs and sequential BiCIs with an interval of 2 years between implants. It also shows a significant benefit of sequential BiCIs over a unilateral cochlear implant. Until 3 years after receiving simultaneous BiCIs, speech intelligibility in noise significantly improved compared with previous years. Trial Registration:trialregister.nl Identifier: NTR1722.
Project description:In normal-hearing (NH) adults, long-term music training may benefit music and speech perception, even when listening to spectro-temporally degraded signals as experienced by cochlear implant (CI) users. In this study, we compared two different music training approaches in CI users and their effects on speech and music perception, as it remains unclear which approach to music training might be best. The approaches differed in terms of music exercises and social interaction. For the pitch/timbre group, melodic contour identification (MCI) training was performed using computer software. For the music therapy group, training involved face-to-face group exercises (rhythm perception, musical speech perception, music perception, singing, vocal emotion identification, and music improvisation). For the control group, training involved group nonmusic activities (e.g., writing, cooking, and woodworking). Training consisted of weekly 2-hr sessions over a 6-week period. Speech intelligibility in quiet and noise, vocal emotion identification, MCI, and quality of life (QoL) were measured before and after training. The different training approaches appeared to offer different benefits for music and speech perception. Training effects were observed within-domain (better MCI performance for the pitch/timbre group), with little cross-domain transfer of music training (emotion identification significantly improved for the music therapy group). While training had no significant effect on QoL, the music therapy group reported better perceptual skills across training sessions. These results suggest that more extensive and intensive training approaches that combine pitch training with the social aspects of music therapy may further benefit CI users.
Project description:Progress has been made in recent years in the provision of amplification and early intervention for children who are hard of hearing. However, children who use hearing aids (HAs) may have inconsistent access to their auditory environment due to limitations in speech audibility through their HAs or limited HA use. The effects of variability in children's auditory experience on parent-reported auditory skills questionnaires and on speech recognition in quiet and in noise were examined for a large group of children who were followed as part of the Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss study.Parent ratings on auditory development questionnaires and children's speech recognition were assessed for 306 children who are hard of hearing. Children ranged in age from 12 months to 9 years. Three questionnaires involving parent ratings of auditory skill development and behavior were used, including the LittlEARS Auditory Questionnaire, Parents Evaluation of Oral/Aural Performance in Children rating scale, and an adaptation of the Speech, Spatial, and Qualities of Hearing scale. Speech recognition in quiet was assessed using the Open- and Closed-Set Test, Early Speech Perception test, Lexical Neighborhood Test, and Phonetically Balanced Kindergarten word lists. Speech recognition in noise was assessed using the Computer-Assisted Speech Perception Assessment. Children who are hard of hearing were compared with peers with normal hearing matched for age, maternal educational level, and nonverbal intelligence. The effects of aided audibility, HA use, and language ability on parent responses to auditory development questionnaires and on children's speech recognition were also examined.Children who are hard of hearing had poorer performance than peers with normal hearing on parent ratings of auditory skills and had poorer speech recognition. Significant individual variability among children who are hard of hearing was observed. Children with greater aided audibility through their HAs, more hours of HA use, and better language abilities generally had higher parent ratings of auditory skills and better speech-recognition abilities in quiet and in noise than peers with less audibility, more limited HA use, or poorer language abilities. In addition to the auditory and language factors that were predictive for speech recognition in quiet, phonological working memory was also a positive predictor for word recognition abilities in noise.Children who are hard of hearing continue to experience delays in auditory skill development and speech-recognition abilities compared with peers with normal hearing. However, significant improvements in these domains have occurred in comparison to similar data reported before the adoption of universal newborn hearing screening and early intervention programs for children who are hard of hearing. Increasing the audibility of speech has a direct positive effect on auditory skill development and speech-recognition abilities and also may enhance these skills by improving language abilities in children who are hard of hearing. Greater number of hours of HA use also had a significant positive impact on parent ratings of auditory skills and children's speech recognition.
Project description:Background:Cochlear implants (CIs), which have been designed primarily to support spoken communication of persons with severe to profound hearing loss, are highly effective in supporting speech perception in quiet listening conditions. CI users as a group achieve significantly poorer perception and appraisal of music, and speech perception is compromised when background music is present, though outcomes vary considerably across recipients. A number of factors have been identified that contribute to variable music listening experiences, but many questions remain, particularly regarding experiences in everyday life from the perspective of CI users. Purpose:The purpose of this study was twofold: The first aim was to explore the perspectives of adult CI recipients regarding two experiences with music in everyday life: purposeful music listening and background music that competes with spoken conversation. The second aim was to develop a framework of everyday music experiences based upon CI perspectives that could inform future rehabilitative practices and research initiatives. Methods:Qualitative and patient-engaged research methodologies were used to emphasize the perspectives of the CI users. Participants included 40 experienced adult CI users ranging in age from 19 to 81 enrolled in 13 CI centers. Participants completed on-line semi-structured open-ended questionnaires regarding purposeful music listening and background music in conjunction with spoken communication. Responses were analyzed using an iterative inductive coding process consistent with grounded theory methodology. The interrelated themes that emerged from the data were then organized into a model synthesizing components from models on music response and self-management for persons with chronic health conditions. Outcomes:Data analyses informed the development of a Dynamic Problem Solving Model for Management of Music Listening Environments adapted from Hill-Briggs (2003) Problem Solving Model of Chronic Illness Self-Management. Key findings were: (1) Music listening is a dynamic, multifaceted experience; satisfactory listening depended upon optimal combinations of factors; (2) Music listening is effortful, but the extent of satisfaction is influenced by expectations and self-management of the situation; (3) CI users have limited access to resources for optimizing music experiences. Many CI users would consider rehabilitation, but level of commitment and priorities differ across CI users.
Project description:While cochlear implants (CIs) usually provide high levels of speech recognition in quiet, speech recognition in noise remains challenging. To overcome these difficulties, it is important to understand how implanted listeners separate a target signal from interferers. Stream segregation has been studied extensively in both normal and electric hearing, as a function of place of stimulation. However, the effects of pulse rate, independent of place, on the perceptual grouping of sequential sounds in electric hearing have not yet been investigated. A rhythm detection task was used to measure stream segregation. The results of this study suggest that while CI listeners can segregate streams based on differences in pulse rate alone, the amount of stream segregation observed decreases as the base pulse rate increases. Further investigation of the perceptual dimensions encoded by the pulse rate and the effect of sequential presentation of different stimulation rates on perception could be beneficial for the future development of speech processing strategies for CIs.