Background: Variability in speech performance is a major concern for children with cochlear implants (CIs). Spectral resolution is an important acoustic component in speech perception. Considerable variability and limitations of spectral resolution in children with CIs may lead to individual differences in speech performance. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between auditory spectral resolution and speech perception in pediatric CI users.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Shiraz, Iran, in 2017. The frequency discrimination threshold (FDT) and the spectral-temporal modulated ripple discrimination threshold (SMRT) were measured for 75 pre-lingual hearing-impaired children with CIs (age=8–12 y). Word recognition and sentence perception tests were completed to assess speech perception. The Pearson correlation analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were used to determine the correlation between the variables and to determine the predictive variables of speech perception, respectively.
Results: There was a significant correlation between the SMRT and word recognition (r=0.573 and P<0.001). The FDT was significantly correlated with word recognition (r=0.487 and P<0.001). Sentence perception had a significant correlation with the SMRT and the FDT. There was a significant correlation between chronological age and age at implantation with SMRT but not the FDT.
Conclusion: Auditory spectral resolution correlated well with speech perception among our children with CIs. Spectral resolution ability accounted for approximately 40% of the variance in speech perception among the children with CIs.