What is it about?

People who use a cochlear implant often have years of experience trying to communicate when they can’t hear very well. We wanted to find out whether people who use cochlear implants are better at tuning out distractions and focusing on a conversation than people who have normal hearing. We found no meaningful differences in how well people ignored distractions based on whether or not they used a cochlear implant. We did find that accented speech is more difficult to understand for those using a cochlear implant than for those with normal hearing listening to a cochlear-implant simulation.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that visual distraction does not necessarily take away from one's ability to understand speech, but active distraction like doing something else (i.e., multi-tasking) definitely hurts speech understanding. This finding can help guide communication strategies for those listening with a cochlear implant. Our results also highlight the need for cochlear implants to better convey accented speech. People who use cochlear implants need to be able to understand those who speak with an accent given our increasingly multicultural society.

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This page is a summary of: Audiovisual Speech Recognition With a Cochlear Implant and Increased Perceptual and Cognitive Demands, Trends in Hearing, January 2020, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/2331216520960601.
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