Optimization of programming parameters in children with the advanced bionics cochlear implant

Jacquelyn Baudhuin, Jamie Cadieux, Jill B. Firszt, Ruth M. Reeder, Jerrica L. Maxson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Background: Cochlear implants provide access to soft intensity sounds and therefore improved audibility for children with severe-to-profound hearing loss. Speech processor programming parameters, such as threshold (or T-level), input dynamic range (IDR), and microphone sensitivity, contribute to the recipient's program and influence audibility. When soundfield thresholds obtained through the speech processor are elevated, programming parameters can bemodified to improve soft sound detection. Adult recipients show improved detection for low-level sounds when T-levels are set at raised levels and show better speech understanding in quiet when wider IDRs are used. Little is known about the effects of parameter settings on detection and speech recognition in children using today's cochlear implant technology. Purpose: The overall study aim was to assess optimal T-level, IDR, and sensitivity settings in pediatric recipients of the Advanced Bionics cochlear implant. Research Design: Two experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 examined the effects of two T-level settings on soundfield thresholds and detection of the Ling 6 sounds. One program set T-levels at 10% of most comfortable levels (M-levels) and another at 10 current units (CUs) below the level judged as "soft."Experiment 2 examined the effects of IDR and sensitivity settings on speech recognition in quiet and noise. Study Sample: Participants were 11 children 7-17 yr of age (mean 11.3) implanted with the Advanced Bionics High Resolution 90K or CII cochlear implant system who had speech recognition scores of 20% or greater on a monosyllabic word test. Data Collection and Analysis: Two T-level programswere compared for detection of the Ling sounds and frequency modulated (FM) tones. Differing IDR/sensitivity programs (50/0, 50/10, 70/0, 70/10) were compared using Ling and FM tone detection thresholds, CNC (consonant-vowel nucleus-consonant) words at 50 dB SPL, and Hearing in Noise Test for Children (HINT-C) sentences at 65 dB SPL in the presence of four-talker babble (18 signal-to-noise ratio). Outcomes were analyzed using a paired t-test and a mixedmodel repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: T-levels set 10 CUs below "soft" resulted in significantly lower detection thresholds for all six Ling sounds and FM tones at 250, 1000, 3000, 4000, and 6000 Hz. When comparing programs differing by IDR and sensitivity, a 50 dB IDR with a 0 sensitivity setting showed significantly poorer thresholds for low frequency FM tones and voiced Ling sounds. Analysis of group mean scores for CNC words in quiet or HINT-C sentences in noise indicated no significant differences across IDR/sensitivity settings. Individual data, however, showed significant differences between IDR/sensitivity programs in noise; the optimal program differed across participants. Conclusions: In pediatric recipients of the Advanced Bionics cochlear implant device, manually setting T-levelswith ascending loudness judgments should be considered when possible or when low-level sounds are inaudible. Study findings confirm the need to determine program settings on an individual basis as well as the importance of speech recognition verification measures in both quiet and noise. Clinical guidelines are suggested for selection of programming parameters in both young and older children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Cochlear implant
  • Input dynamic range
  • Optimization
  • Pediatric recipient
  • Sensitivity
  • Speech processor
  • Speech recognition
  • Threshold level

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