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Audiol Neurootol ; : 1-8, 2021 Nov 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528607


INTRODUCTION: The objective of this study was to assess the influence of postponing the first post-activation follow-up due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the aided sound field detection thresholds and speech recognition of cochlear implant (CI) users. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed at a tertiary referral center. Two groups of adult CI recipients were evaluated: (1) patients whose first post-activation follow-up was postponed due to COVID-19 closures (postponed group; n = 10) and (2) a control group that attended recommended post-activation follow-ups prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (control group; n = 18). For both groups, electric thresholds were estimated at initial activation based on comfort levels and were measured behaviorally at subsequent post-activation follow-ups. For the control group, behavioral thresholds were measured at the 1-month follow-up. For the postponed group, behavioral thresholds were not measured until 3 months post-activation since the 1-month follow-up was postponed. The aided pure-tone average (PTA) and word recognition results were compared between groups at the 3-month follow-up and at an interim visit 2-9 weeks later. RESULTS: At the 3-month follow-up, the postponed group had significantly poorer word recognition (23 vs. 42%, p = 0.027) and aided PTA (42 vs. 37 dB HL, p = 0.041) than the control group. No significant differences were observed between 3-month data from the control group and interim data from the postponed group. CONCLUSIONS: The postponed follow-up after CI activation was associated with poorer outcomes, both in terms of speech recognition and aided audibility. However, these detrimental effects were reversed following provision of an individualized map, with behaviorally measured electric threshold and comfort levels. While adult CI recipients demonstrate an improvement in speech recognition with estimated electric thresholds, the present results suggest that behavioral mapping within the initial weeks of device use may support optimal outcomes.

Laryngoscope ; 131(6): E2038-E2043, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085662


OBJECTIVES: The objectives were to characterize the effects of wearing face coverings on: 1) acoustic speech cues, and 2) speech recognition of patients with hearing loss who listen with a cochlear implant. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was performed in a tertiary referral center between July and September 2020. A female talker recorded sentences in three conditions: no face covering, N95 mask, and N95 mask plus a face shield. Spectral differences were analyzed between speech produced in each condition. The speech recognition in each condition for twenty-three adult patients with at least 6 months of cochlear implant use was assessed. RESULTS: Spectral analysis demonstrated preferential attenuation of high-frequency speech information with the N95 mask plus face shield condition compared to the other conditions. Speech recognition did not differ significantly between the uncovered (median 90% [IQR 89%-94%]) and N95 mask conditions (91% [IQR 86%-94%]; P = .253); however, speech recognition was significantly worse in the N95 mask plus face shield condition (64% [IQR 48%-75%]) compared to the uncovered (P < .001) or N95 mask (P < .001) conditions. CONCLUSIONS: The type and combination of protective face coverings used have differential effects on attenuation of speech information, influencing speech recognition of patients with hearing loss. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to protect patients and clinicians from spread of disease while maximizing patient speech recognition. The disruptive effect of wearing a face shield in conjunction with a mask may prompt clinicians to consider alternative eye protection, such as goggles, in appropriate clinical situations. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3 Laryngoscope, 131:E2038-E2043, 2021.

Cochlear Implants , N95 Respirators , Perceptual Masking , Speech Perception , Adult , Cohort Studies , Cues , Female , Hearing Loss/physiopathology , Humans , Male , Perceptual Masking/physiology , Prospective Studies , Sound Spectrography , Speech Acoustics , Speech Discrimination Tests , Speech Perception/physiology