What is it about?

Cochlear implants are bionic auditory prosthetic devices that partially restore hearing and speech understanding to all ages. Cochlear implants are designed to specifically convey temporal speech information, not frequency information. Furthermore, with aging comes slowing of the ability of the brain to represent temporal information. This study showed that as spectral information was reduced and individuals were forced to use temporal information, the older individuals had the hardest time distinguishing the speech sounds. This explains why older cochlear-implant users have problems with distinguishing certain speech sounds.

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Why is it important?

Cochlear implants can work very well at improving hearing for older individuals who experience moderate-to-profound hearing loss. Knowing that certain speech sounds are more difficult to distinguish for older cochlear-implant users means we will be able to target ways to improve how the cochlear-implant sound processor conveys these specific sounds. It also gives us information for developing clinical training programs that are specific to older individuals who use cochlear implants.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Age-Related Differences in the Processing of Temporal Envelope and Spectral Cues in a Speech Segment, Ear & Hearing, January 2017, Wolters Kluwer Health, DOI: 10.1097/aud.0000000000000447.
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