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Variables affecting speech intelligibility in prelingual Arabic speaking cochlear-implanted children

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Abstract

Background

Speech intelligibility (SI) is usually expressed as the degree to which a speaker’s intended message can be recovered by other listeners. It is determined by many factors that may be affected by the degree of hearing loss. The use of cochlear implants (CIs) can facilitate the development of speech and language skills of prelingually deaf children. Thus, improvements in SI after CI fitting can provide indirect evidence of sensory aid benefits.

Aim

This cross-sectional study aimed to explore the different variables that affect SI in prelingual CI children in order to achieve the maximum benefit for improving SI in such candidates.

Participants and methods

This study included 30 prelingually hearing-impaired participants, with ages ranging from 6 to 10 years. They used bilateral hearing aids for a duration of 2.6 ± 1.7 years before undergoing CI, which was performed at ages ranging from 4 to 9 years. They were enrolled in specific language intervention programs after implantation for a duration ranging from 1 to 3.8 years. Then, the Arabic Speech Intelligibility test was used to assess their SI. The effect of different variables on their SI was assessed through both comparative and correlative analysis.

Results

SI scores showed highly significant differences in patients at younger age at implantation (aged ≤5years) and in those who had received language therapy for more than 2 years after implantation. Meanwhile, preimplantation therapy for more than 1 year and usage of hearing aids for more than 1 year before CI had significant effects on the SI scores. SI was highly significantly negatively correlated with age at CI and highly significantly positively correlated with the duration of postimplantation therapy. The SI scores were also affected by the three groups of the SI test. The front consonants had higher significant scores compared with both back consonants and sentences, and back consonants had significantly higher scores compared with sentences.

Conclusion

The SI of prelingual cochlear-implanted children was affected by all of the studied variants. However, for best SI, age at implantation and postimplantation therapy duration should be considered to enable better SI in these children.

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Correspondence to Ahmed Abdelhamid.

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Nassar, J.F., Kaddah, FA.A., Abdelhamid, A. et al. Variables affecting speech intelligibility in prelingual Arabic speaking cochlear-implanted children. Egypt J Otolaryngol 31, 54–60 (2015). https://doi.org/10.4103/1012-5574.152710

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Keywords

  • Arabic test
  • cochlear implants
  • hearing impairments
  • speech intelligibility