Word and Nonword Reading Efficiency in Postlingually Deafened Adult Cochlear Implant Users

Terrin N. Tamati*, Kara J. Vasil, William G. Kronenberger, David B. Pisoni, Aaron C. Moberly, Christin Ray

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
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    Hypothesis: This study tested the hypotheses that 1) experienced adult cochlear implants (CI) users demonstrate poorer reading efficiency relative to normal-hearing controls, 2) reading efficiency reflects basic, underlying neurocognitive skills, and 3) reading efficiency relates to speech recognition outcomes in CI users. Background: Weak phonological processing skills have been associated with poor speech recognition outcomes in postlingually deaf adult CI users. Phonological processing can be captured in nonauditory measures of reading efficiency, which may have wide use in patients with hearing loss. This study examined reading efficiency in adults CI users, and its relation to speech recognition outcomes. Methods: Forty-eight experienced, postlingually deaf adult CI users (ECIs) and 43 older age-matched peers with age-normal hearing (ONHs) completed the Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE-2), which measures word and nonword reading efficiency. Participants also completed a battery of nonauditory neurocognitive measures and auditory sentence recognition tasks. Results: ECIs and ONHs did not differ in word (ECIs: M = 78.2, SD = 11.4; ONHs: M = 83.3, SD = 10.2) or nonword reading efficiency (ECIs: M = 42.0, SD = 11.2; ONHs: M = 43.7, SD = 10.3). For ECIs, both scores were related to untimed word reading with moderate to strong effect sizes (r = 0.43-0.69), but demonstrated differing relations with other nonauditory neurocognitive measures with weak to moderate effect sizes (word: r = 0.11-0.44; nonword: r = (-)0.15 to (-)0.42). Word reading efficiency was moderately related to sentence recognition outcomes in ECIs (r = 0.36-0.40). Conclusion: Findings suggest that postlingually deaf adult CI users demonstrate neither impaired word nor nonword reading efficiency, and these measures reflect different underlying mechanisms involved in language processing. The relation between sentence recognition and word reading efficiency, a measure of lexical access speed, suggests that this measure may be useful for explaining outcome variability in adult CI users.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E272-E278
    Number of pages7
    JournalOtology & Neurotology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021


    • Cochlear implant
    • Individual differences
    • Reading efficiency
    • Speech recognition

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