Comparison between Bilateral Cochlear Implants and Neurelec Digisonic® SP Binaural Cochlear Implant: Speech Perception, Sound Localization and Patient Self-Assessment

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An alternative to bilateral cochlear implantation is offered by the Neurelec Digisonic® SP Binaural cochlear implant, which allows stimulation of both cochleae within a single device. The purpose of this prospective study was to compare a group of Neurelec Digisonic® SP Binaural implant users (denoted BINAURAL group, n = 7) with a group of bilateral adult cochlear implant users (denoted BILATERAL group, n = 6) in terms of speech perception, sound localization, and self-assessment of health status and hearing disability. Speech perception was assessed using word recognition at 60 dB SPL in quiet and in a ‘cocktail party' noise delivered through five loudspeakers in the hemi-sound field facing the patient (signal-to-noise ratio = +10 dB). The sound localization task was to determine the source of a sound stimulus among five speakers positioned between -90° and +90° from midline. Change in health status was assessed using the Glasgow Benefit Inventory and hearing disability was evaluated with the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit. Speech perception was not statistically different between the two groups, even though there was a trend in favor of the BINAURAL group (mean percent word recognition in the BINAURAL and BILATERAL groups: 70 vs. 56.7% in quiet, 55.7 vs. 43.3% in noise). There was also no significant difference with regard to performance in sound localization and self-assessment of health status and hearing disability. On the basis of the BINAURAL group's performance in hearing tasks involving the detection of interaural differences, implantation with the Neurelec Digisonic® SP Binaural implant may be considered to restore effective binaural hearing. Based on these first comparative results, this device seems to provide benefits similar to those of traditional bilateral cochlear implantation, with a new approach to stimulate both auditory nerves.Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel

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