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This article is the author's final published version in PloS One, Volume 19, Issue 2, February 2024, Article number e0293811.

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Copyright © 2024 Lively et al


A hearing aid or a contralateral routing of signal device are options for unilateral cochlear implant listeners with limited hearing in the unimplanted ear; however, it is uncertain which device provides greater benefit beyond unilateral listening alone. Eighteen unilateral cochlear implant listeners participated in this prospective, within-participants, repeated measures study. Participants were tested with the cochlear implant alone, cochlear implant + hearing aid, and cochlear implant + contralateral routing of signal device configurations with a one-month take-home period between each in-person visit. Audiograms, speech perception in noise, and lateralization were evaluated. Subjective feedback was obtained via questionnaires. Marked improvement in speech in noise and non-implanted ear lateralization accuracy were observed with the addition of a contralateral hearing aid. There were no significant differences in speech recognition between listening configurations. However, the chronic device use questionnaires and the final device selection showed a clear preference for the hearing aid in spatial awareness and communication domains. Individuals with limited hearing in their unimplanted ears demonstrate significant improvement with the addition of a contralateral device. Subjective questionnaires somewhat contrast with clinic-based outcome measures, highlighting the delicate decision-making process involved in clinically advising one device or another to maximize communication benefits.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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