The purpose of this study is to compare speech perception performance in Mandarin-speaking Nucleus CI24 implantee using standard behavior MAPs and NRT-based MAPs. Eight Nucleus CI24 users (5 years and older) participated in the study. They all fulfilled the following criteria: (1) behavioral MAP and NRT thresholds can be reliably obtained; (2) had more than 18 functioning electrodes; (3) had at least 6 months experience using CI. All subjects received speech evaluation under three different MAPs: a traditional behavioral MAP, a MAP predicted from the NRT thresholds of the E22 (electrode 22), E19, E15, E11, E8, E5, E1 and a combined MAP based on the information of NRT thresholds and behavioral threshold/comfortable levels of the E11. The speech evaluation package included word recognition test in quiet, in noise, and a Mandarin sentence test in quiet. Results showed that three MAPs are similar in some subjects, but different in other subjects. Compared to the NRT MAPs, the combined MAPs are more similar to the behavioral MAPs. There was no significant difference in the mean score of the word recognition test in quiet, in noise and sentence test under these three MAP conditions. In conclusion, although the behavioral MAPs and the NRT-based MAPs are not identical, the speech performance of Mandarin-speaking CI24 implantee using MAPs predicted from NRT thresholds appeared to be no worse than the traditional behavioral MAPs. Therefore, in certain cases that behavioral MAPs are difficult to obtain (such as in very young or multiple handicapped children), NRT-based MAPs may serve reliably as an initial estimation.
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