Audiological Results and Quality of Life of Sophono Alpha 2 Transcutaneous Bone-Anchored Implant Users in Single-Sided Deafness

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Abstract

Single-sided deafness (SSD) represents one of the most difficult audiological conditions to rehabilitate. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the audiological benefits and quality of life of patients affected by SSD who had previously been users of the Alpha 1® when upgrading them to the Sophono Alpha 2® external processor (Boulder, Colo., USA). Nine patients were included in the study. They underwent physical examination, free-field speech audiometry at 40 and 60 dB, a hearing-in-noise test (Hirsch's test and the squelch test), the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI) questionnaire, and a specific questionnaire on patient satisfaction with Alpha 1. Afterwards, the Alpha 2 external processor was delivered to all patients, and the above-mentioned protocol was repeated after 1 month with the Alpha 2. A statistically significant improvement was found in the speech discrimination score at 40 dB and in the squelch test when using the Alpha 2 external processor compared to the Alpha 1. Alpha 2 had a good clinical tolerance and gave similar results in the specific questionnaire and the GBI to Alpha 1. In conclusion, the new Alpha 2 external processor represents a safe and effective device for the rehabilitation of SSD, and there is an audiological benefit to upgrading to the Alpha 2 external processor for patients who had previously been users of the Alpha 1. The improvement in quality of life is similar to that with other bone-anchored hearing devices.

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