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.
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