J Am Acad Audiol 2021; 32(01): 039-044
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1718893
Research Article

The Benefit of Remote and On-Ear Directional Microphone Technology Persists in the Presence of Visual Information

Michael F. Dorman
1  Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Sarah Cook Natale
1  Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Smita Agrawal
2  Advanced Bionics, Valencia, California
› Author Affiliations


Background Both the Roger remote microphone and on-ear, adaptive beamforming technologies (e.g., Phonak UltraZoom) have been shown to improve speech understanding in noise for cochlear implant (CI) listeners when tested in audio-only (A-only) test environments.

Purpose Our aim was to determine if adult and pediatric CI recipients benefited from these technologies in a more common environment—one in which both audio and visual cues were available and when overall performance was high.

Study Sample Ten adult CI listeners (Experiment 1) and seven pediatric CI listeners (Experiment 2) were tested.

Design Adults were tested in quiet and in two levels of noise (level 1 and level 2) in A-only and audio-visual (AV) environments. There were four device conditions: (1) an ear canal-level, omnidirectional microphone (T-mic) in quiet, (2) the T-mic in noise, (3) an adaptive directional mic (UltraZoom) in noise, and (4) a wireless, remote mic (Roger Pen) in noise. Pediatric listeners were tested in quiet and in level 1 noise in A-only and AV environments. The test conditions were: (1) a behind-the-ear level omnidirectional mic (processor mic) in quiet, (2) the processor mic in noise, (3) the T-mic in noise, and (4) the Roger Pen in noise.

Data Collection and Analyses In each test condition, sentence understanding was assessed (percent correct) and ease of listening ratings were obtained. The sentence understanding data were entered into repeated-measures analyses of variance.

Results For both adult and pediatric listeners in the AV test conditions in level 1 noise, performance with the Roger Pen was significantly higher than with the T-mic. For both populations, performance in level 1 noise with the Roger Pen approached the level of baseline performance in quiet. Ease of listening in noise was rated higher in the Roger Pen conditions than in the T-mic or processor mic conditions in both A-only and AV test conditions.

Conclusion The Roger remote mic and on-ear directional mic technologies benefit both speech understanding and ease of listening in a realistic laboratory test environment and are likely do the same in real-world listening environments.

Publication History

Received: 27 March 2020

Accepted: 19 July 2020

Publication Date:
09 December 2020 (online)

© 2020. American Academy of Audiology. This article is published by Thieme.

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