This study investigated the effect of speech rate for Italian-speaking cochlear implant (CI) users with the aim of gaining insight into everyday listening situations where speaker's rate may vary considerably together with speech level in fluctuating background noise. The test material was prepared by processing the Italian STARR test with temporal compression of sentence material. Twelve adult CI users were divided into two subgroups based on their STARR performance: good and poor performers. The effect of varying speech rate was remarkable for both subgroups. Good performers showed significant performance deterioration for the faster speech rate, whereas outcomes for poor performers improved significantly for the slower speech rate. Background noise is inevitable during daily life and CI users face a variety of speakers, so must cope with changes in both speech level and rate. Traditional tests with a single talker speaking very clearly while using a moderate to low speech rate may overestimate everyday speech perception for CI users. The use of tests that mimic everyday perception is of great importance and should become a routine part of audiometric measures for hearing impaired people.