Maximizing Cochlear Implant Outcomes with Short-Term Aural Rehabilitation

Claire Marcus Bernstein, Diane Majerus Brewer, Matthew H. Bakke, Anne D. Olson, Elizabeth Jackson Machmer, Jaclyn B. Spitzer, Paula C. Schauer, Sarah A. Sydlowski, Harry Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background  Increasing numbers of adults are receiving cochlear implants (CIs) and many achieve high levels of speech perception and improved quality of life. However, a proportion of implant recipients still struggle due to limited speech recognition and/or greater communication demands in their daily lives. For these individuals a program of aural rehabilitation (AR) has the potential to improve outcomes. Purpose  The study investigated the effects of a short-term AR intervention on speech recognition, functional communication, and psychosocial outcomes in post lingually deafened adult CI users. Research Design  The experimental design was a multisite clinical study with participants randomized to either an AR treatment or active control group. Each group completed 6 weekly 90-minute individual treatment sessions. Assessments were completed pretreatment, 1 week and 2 months post-treatment. Study Sample  Twenty-five post lingually deafened adult CI recipients participated. AR group: mean age 66.2 (48-80); nine females, four males; months postactivation 7.7 (3-16); mean years severe to profound deafness 18.4 (2-40). Active control group: mean age 62.8 (47-85); eight females, four males; months postactivation 7.0 (3-13); mean years severe to profound deafness 18.8 (1-55). Intervention  The AR protocol consisted of auditory training (words, sentences, speech tracking), and psychosocial counseling (informational and communication strategies). Active control group participants engaged in cognitive stimulation activities (e.g., crosswords, sudoku, etc.). Data Collection and Analysis  Repeated measures ANOVA or analysis of variance, MANOVA or multivariate analysis of variance, and planned contrasts were used to compare group performance on the following measures: CasperSent; Hearing Handicap Inventory; Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire; Client Oriented Scale of Improvement; Glasgow Benefit Inventory. Results  The AR group showed statistically significant improvements on speech recognition performance, psychosocial function, and communication goals with no significant improvement seen in the control group. The two groups were statistically equivalent on all outcome measures at preassessment. The robust improvements for the AR group were maintained at 2 months post-treatment. Conclusion  Results of this clinical study provide evidence that a short-term AR intervention protocol can maximize outcomes for adult post lingually deafened CI users. The impact of this brief multidimensional AR intervention to extend CI benefit is compelling, and may serve as a template for best practices with adult CI users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19071
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved.


  • auditory training
  • aural rehabilitation
  • cochlear implants
  • psychosocial outcomes
  • speech recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Maximizing Cochlear Implant Outcomes with Short-Term Aural Rehabilitation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this