Research Article

Relationship between working memory capacity and speech perception in noise among children with cochlear implant


Background and Aim: There is a controversy about cochlear implant usefulness for users since they do not develop speech and language with equal quality. Many researchers by controlling demographic and medical variables in this population suggested the contribution of neuro­cognitive factors such as working memory to this variation. The aim of this study was to com­pare working memory capacity between two groups of cochlear implantees who differ just in terms of speech in noise (SIN) scores.
Methods: In this study, 26 cochlear implanted children, aged 8-12 years who had received cochlear implant (CI) before age 3, took part and were divided into two groups of more than 75% and less than 60% based on their SIN scores. Both groups were matched for their medical and demographic characteristics, and underwent forward, backward digit span, and non-word repetition tests.
Results: There were significant differences in the scores of all three tests between the two gro­ups (p<0.001). The scores of speech perception in noise test were positively correlated with those of working memory tests.
Conclusion: The difference in working memory capacity between the two groups, and positive correlation between working memory capacity and SIN scores indicated the importance of wor­king memory capacity in the ability of speech perception in noise in CI children. Thus, attention to working memory capacity in cochlear implant users seems important in planning for rehabilitation programs.

Caldwell A, Nittrouer S. Speech perception in noise by children with cochlear implants. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2013;56(1):13-30.
2. Harris MS, Kronenberger WG, Gao S, Hoen HM, Miyamoto RT, Pisoni DB. Verbal short-term memory development and spoken language outcomes in
deaf children with cochlear implants. Ear Hear. 2013;34(2):179-92.
3. Pisoni DB. Cognitive factors and cochlear implants: some thoughts on perception, learning, and memory in speech perception. Ear Hear. 2000;21(1):70-8.
4. Niparko JK, Tobey EA, Thal DJ, Eisenberg LS, Wang NY, Quittner AL, et al. Spoken language development in children following cochlear implantation. JAMA. 2010;303(15):1498-506.
5. Casserly ED, Pisoni DB. Nonword repetition as a predictor of long-term speech and language skills in children with cochlear implants. Otol Neurotol. 2013;34(3):460-70.
6. Cleary M, Pisoni DB, Kirk KI. Working memory spans as predictors of spoken word recognition and receptive vocabulary in children with cochlear implants. Volta Rev. 2000;102(4):259-80.
7. Ortmann M, Knief A, Deuster D, Brinkheetker S, Zwitserlood P, am Zehnhoff-Dinnesen A, et al. Neural correlates of speech processing in prelingually deafened children and adolescents with cochlear implants. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e67696.
8. Baddeley A. Working memory and language: an overview. J Commun Disord. 2003;36(3):189-208.
9. Ng EH, Rudner M, Lunner T, Pedersen MS, Rönnberg J. Effects of noise and working memory capacity on memory processing of speech for hearing-aid users. Int J Audiol. 2013;52(7):433-41.
10. Rönnberg J, Rudner M, Lunner T, Zekveld AA. When
cognition kicks in: working memory and speech understanding in noise. Noise Health. 2010;12(49):263-9.
11. Soleymani Z, Amidfar M, Dadgar H, Jalaie S. Working memory in Farsi-speaking children with normal development and cochlear implant. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014;78(4):674-8.
12. Harris MS, Pisoni DB, Kronenberger WG, Gao S, Caffrey HM, Miyamoto RT. Developmental trajectories of forward and backward digit spans in deaf children with cochlear implants. Cochlear Implants Int. 2011;12(Suppl 1): S84-S88.
13. Kronenberger WG, Pisoni DB, Harris MS, Hoen HM, Xu H, Miyamoto RT. Profiles of verbal working mem¬ory growth predict speech and language development in children with cochlear implants. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2013;56(3):805-25.
14. Dillon CM, Burkholder RA, Cleary M, Pisoni DB. Non-word repetition by children with cochlear implants: accuracy ratings from normal-hearing listeners. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2004;47(5):1103-16.
15. Zhang F, Hammer T, Banks HL, Benson C, Xiang J, Fu QJ. Mismatch negativity and adaptation measures of the late auditory evoked potential in cochlear implant users. Hear Res. 2011;275(1-2):17-29.
16. Aarabi S, Jarollahi F, Jalaie S. Development and
determination of the validity of Persian version of monaural selective auditory attention test in learning disabled children. Aud Vest Res. 2016;25(1):49-54.
17. Mosleh M. Development and evaluation of a speech recognition test for Persian speaking adults. Audiol. 2001;9(1-2):72-6. Persian.
18. Dehn MJ. Working memory and academic learning: assessment and intervention. 1st ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons; 2008.
19. Moossavi A, Khavarghazalani B, Lotfi Y, Mehrkian S, Bakhshi E, Mahmoodi Bakhtiari B. Validity and reliability of a non-sense syllable test for evaluating phonological working memory in Persian speaking children. Audiol. 2014;23(4):31-9. Persian.
20. Wilde N, Strauss E. Functional equivalence of WAIS-III/WMS-III digit and spatial span under forward
and backward recall conditions. Clin Neuropsychol. 2002;16(3):322-30.
21. Geers AE, Pisoni DB, Brenner C. Complex working memory span in cochlear implanted and normal hearing teenagers. Otol Neurotol. 2013;34(3):396-401.
22. Cleary M, Pisoni DB, Geers AE. Some measures of verbal and spatial working memory in eight- and nine-year-old hearing-impaired children with cochlear implants. Ear Hear. 2001;22(5):395-411.
IssueVol 25 No 4 (2016) QRcode
SectionResearch Article(s)
Cochlear implant children speech in noise working memory

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Moossavi A, Etemadi M, Javanbakht M, Bakhshi E, Sharafi MA. Relationship between working memory capacity and speech perception in noise among children with cochlear implant. Aud Vestib Res. 2016;25(4):227-233.