The objectives of the study were to demonstrate the audiological and subjective benefits of the adaptive UltraZoom beamforming technology available in the Naída CI Q70 sound processor, in cochlear-implanted adults upgraded from a previous generation sound processor. Thirty-four adults aged between 21 and 89 years (mean 53 ± 19) were prospectively included. Nine subjects were unilaterally implanted, 11 bilaterally and 14 were bimodal users. The mean duration of cochlear implant use was 7 years (range 5–15 years). Subjects were tested in quiet with monosyllabic words and in noise with the adaptive French Matrix test in the best-aided conditions. The test setup contained a signal source in front of the subject and three noise sources at +/−90° and 180°. The noise was presented at a fixed level of 65 dB SPL and the level of speech signal was varied to obtain the speech reception threshold (SRT). During the upgrade visit, subjects were tested with the Harmony and with the Naída CI sound processors in omnidirectional microphone configuration. After a take-home phase of 2 months, tests were repeated with the Naída CI processor with and without UltraZoom. Subjective assessment of the sound quality in daily environments was recorded using the APHAB questionnaire. No difference in performance was observed in quiet between the two processors. The Matrix test in noise was possible in the 21 subjects with the better performance. No difference was observed between the two processors for performance in noise when using the omnidirectional microphone. At the follow-up session, the median SRT with the Naída CI processor with UltraZoom was −4 dB compared to −0.45 dB without UltraZoom. The use of UltraZoom improved the median SRT by 3.6 dB (p < 0.0001, Wilcoxon paired test). When looking at the APHAB outcome, improvement was observed for speech understanding in noisy environments (p < 0.01) and in aversive situations (p < 0.05) in the group of 21 subjects who were able to perform the Matrix test in noise and for speech understanding in noise (p < 0.05) in the group of 13 subjects with the poorest performance, who were not able to perform the Matrix test in noise. The use of UltraZoom beamforming technology, available on the new sound processor Naída CI, improves speech performance in difficult and realistic noisy conditions when the cochlear implant user needs to focus on the person speaking at the front. Using the APHAB questionnaire, a subjective benefit for listening in background noise was also observed in subjects with good performance as well as in those with poor performance. This study highlighted the importance of upgrading CI recipients to new technology and to include assessment in noise and subjective feedback evaluation as part of the process.
European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 29, 2017
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