Performance Plateau in Prelingually and Postlingually Deafened Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients

Cristen Cusumano, David R. Friedmann, Yixin Fang, Binhuan Wang, J. Thomas Roland, Susan B. Waltzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize the performance plateau after unilateral cochlear implantation (CI) in prelingually and postlingually deafened adults and to compare their relative progress. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patients: Prelingually and postlingually deaf adults who received a unilateral CI and completed a minimum of 2 years of follow-up at our center. Intervention: Unilateral CI. Main Outcome Measures: Standard speech perception testing (consonant-nucleus-consonant [CNC] monosyllabic word test and hearing in noise test [HINT] or AzBio sentence test) were performed preoperatively and 3 and 12 months postoperatively, and annually thereafter. Results: In postlingually deaf patients (n = 102), there was a significant improvement in word scores for 3 years postimplantation (p < 0.01). Beyond the 3 years postoperative time point, word scores continued to improve, albeit at a flatter rate. In prelingually deaf patients (n = 16) word scores improved significantly for 5 years postimplantation (p = 0.03). Conclusions: Adults with postlingual deafness undergoing unilateral CI show significant improvement in speech perception for 3 years postimplantation, at which point their performance continues to improve, albeit at a flatter rate. The performance of adults with prelingual deafness improves significantly as late as 5 years postimplantation. These time intervals reflect a change to the currently reported 6 to 12 months period and should impact on counseling, especially in the prelingual CI candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-338
Number of pages5
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Otorhinolaryngology


  • Cochlear implant
  • Performance plateau
  • Postlingual
  • Prelingual


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