A variety of speech perception skills were assessed in this study of prelingually deaf 8 to 9 year olds after 4 to 7 years of using a cochlear implant: perception of specific features of vowels, consonants and suprasegmentals, perception of words in a closed set of choices, perception of words and sentences in an open set format, and the amount of enhancement provided to lipreading when audition is added. A wide range of speech perception ability was observed, with better skills seen in children with a wellprogrammed, up-to-date speech processor. Children who had used the SPEAK (as opposed to the MSP) processor the longest and had a greater number of active electrodes in their map with a wide dynamic range and those who could reliably order increases in loudness with increased stimulus intensity achieved the highest speech perception scores. After controlling for these implant characteristics, as well as other contributing factors, most of the remaining variance in speech perception outcome was due to oral classroom communication mode, with the best perceivers having received more auditory and speech emphasis in their educational program since receiving a cochlear implant.
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