The aim of this study was to investigate the benefits of the preprocessing scheme “Adaptive Dynamic Range Optimization” (ADRO) in children using Nucleus cochlear implants. Previous research with adults indicates improved speech perception in quiet and improved sound quality in everyday listening environments with the ADRO scheme.
Children were given 4 wk of take-home experience with ADRO, with a minimum of 2 wk in which ADRO was “locked-in.” After 1 wk of ADRO use and again after 4 wk of ADRO use, Bench-Kowal-Bamford (BKB) sentence perception in quiet at a low input level of 50 dB SPL (unweighted root mean square) and sentence perception in noise were compared with the child's everyday (Standard) program and the ADRO program. Children also rated the loudness of a variety of environmental sounds and indicated which program provided the best hearing in a variety of everyday listening situations.
On average, BKB sentence perception in quiet at 50 dB SPL was significantly better with the ADRO program compared with the Standard program. The group mean improvement was 8.60%. Similarly, group mean scores for BKB sentences presented at 65 dB SPL in multitalker babble were significantly higher with the ADRO program (an improvement of 6.87%). The ADRO program was the preferred program in 46% of the listening situations, whereas the Standard program was preferred in 26% of situations. Everyday sounds were not unacceptably loud with ADRO.
There was an ADRO benefit for this group of children in quiet and in noise. These findings suggest that young children would benefit from the ADRO programming option being locked in along with other processor settings in the SPrint processor once their MAP levels have stabilized. Some older children and teenagers may choose to use ADRO selectively for specific listening situations.