Cochlear implants (CIs) have evolved to combine residual acoustic hearing with electric hearing. It has been expected that CI users with residual acoustic hearing experience better speech-in-noise perception than CI-only listeners because preserved acoustic cues aid unmasking speech from background noise. This study sought neural substrate of better speech unmasking in CI users with preserved acoustic hearing compared to those with lower degree of acoustic hearing. Cortical evoked responses to speech in multi-talker babble noise were compared between 29 Hybrid (i.e., electric acoustic stimulation or EAS) and 29 electric-only CI users. The amplitude ratio of evoked responses to speech and noise, or internal SNR, was significantly larger in the CI users with EAS. This result indicates that CI users with better residual acoustic hearing exhibit enhanced unmasking of speech from background noise.
- Cochlear implants
- Electric acoustic stimulation (EAS)
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- Speech unmasking