Neural correlates of auditory-cognitive processing in older adult cochlear implant recipients

Yael Henkin*, Yifat Yaar-Soffer, Meidan Steinberg, Chava Muchnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


With the growing number of older adults receiving cochlear implants (CI), there is general agreement that substantial benefits can be gained. Nonetheless, variability in speech perception performance is high, and the relative contribution and interactions among peripheral, central-auditory, and cognitive factors are not fully understood. The goal of the present study was to compare auditory-cognitive processing in older-adult CI recipients with that of older normal-hearing (NH) listeners by means of behavioral and electrophysiologic manifestations of a high-load cognitive task. Auditory event-related potentials (AERPs) were recorded from 9 older postlingually deafened adults with CI (age at CI >60) and 10 age-matched listeners with NH, while performing an auditory Stroop task. Participants were required to classify the speaker's gender (male/female) that produced the words 'mother' or 'father' while ignoring the irrelevant congruent or incongruent word meaning. Older CI and NH listeners exhibited comparable reaction time, performance accuracy, and initial sensory-perceptual processing (i.e. N1 potential). Nonetheless, older CI recipients showed substantially prolonged and less efficient perceptual processing (i.e. P3 potential). Congruency effects manifested in longer reaction time (i.e. Stroop effect), execution time, and P3 latency to incongruent versus congruent stimuli in both groups in a similar fashion; however, markedly prolonged P3 and shortened execution time were evident in older CI recipients. Collectively, older adults (CI and NH) employed a combined perceptual and postperceptual conflict processing strategy; nonetheless, the relative allotment of perceptual resources was substantially enhanced to maintain adequate performance in CI recipients. In sum, the recording of AERPs together with the simultaneously obtained behavioral measures during a Stroop task exposed a differential time course of auditory-cognitive processing in older CI recipients that was not manifested in the behavioral end products of processing. These data may have implications regarding clinical evaluation and rehabilitation procedures that should be tailored specifically for this unique group of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalAudiology and Neurotology
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2014


  • Auditory-cognitive processing
  • Cochlear implant
  • Older adults
  • Speech processing
  • Stroop effect
  • Stroop task


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