Amplitude Modulation Detection and Speech Recognition in Late-Implanted Prelingually and Postlingually Deafened Cochlear Implant Users

A.M. de Ruiter, J.A. Debruyne*, M.N. Chenault, T. Francart, J.P.L. Brokx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives: Many late-implanted prelingually deafened cochlear implant (CI) patients struggle to obtain open-set speech understanding. Because it is known that low-frequency temporal-envelope information contains important cues for speech understanding, the goal of this study was to compare the temporal-envelope processing abilities of late-implanted prelingually and postlingually deafened CI users. Furthermore, the possible relation between temporal processing abilities and speech recognition performances was investigated.

Design: Amplitude modulation detection thresholds were obtained in eight prelingually and 18 postlingually deafened CI users, by means of a sinusoidally modulated broadband noise carrier, presented through a loudspeaker to the CI user's clinical device. Thresholds were determined with a two-down-one-up three-interval oddity adaptive procedure, at seven modulation frequencies. Phoneme recognition (consonant-nucleus-consonant [CNC]) scores (percentage correct at 65 dB SPL) were gathered for all CI users. For the prelingually deafened group, scores on two additional speech tests were obtained: (1) a closed-set monosyllable-trochee-spondee test (percentage correct scores at 65 dB SPL on word recognition and categorization of the suprasegmental word patterns), and (2) a speech tracking test (number of correctly repeated words per minute) with texts specifically designed for this population.

Results: The prelingually deafened CI users had a significantly lower sensitivity to amplitude modulations than the postlingually deafened CI users, and the attenuation rate of their temporal modulation transfer function (TMTF) was greater. None of the prelingually deafened CI users were able to detect modulations at 150 and 200 Hz. High and significant correlations were found between the results on the amplitude modulation detection test and CNC phoneme scores, for the entire group of CI users. In the prelingually deafened group, CNC phoneme scores, word scores on the monosyllable-trochee-spondee test, and speech tracking scores correlated significantly with the mean amplitude modulation detection threshold of the modulation frequencies between 5 and 100 Hz and with almost all separate amplitude modulation thresholds. High correlations with these speech measures were also found for the attenuation rate of and the surface area below the TMTF. In postlingually deafened CI users, CNC phoneme scores only correlated significantly with the 100-Hz and 150-Hz amplitude modulation thresholds, as well as with the attenuation rate of and surface area below the TMTF.

Conclusions: Prelingually deafened CI users were less sensitive to temporal modulations than postlingually deafened CI users, and the attenuation rate of their TMTF was steeper. For all CI users, subjects with better amplitude modulation detection skills tended to score better on measures of speech understanding. Significant correlations with low modulation frequencies were found only for the prelingually deafened CI users and not for the postlingually deafened CI users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-566
Number of pages10
JournalEar and Hearing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Amplitude modulation
  • Cochlear implant
  • Postlingual deafness
  • Prelingual deafness
  • Speech perception
  • Temporal processing

Cite this