Hearing Preservation Cochlear Implantation in Adolescents

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ObjectiveThis study describes our experience of cochlear implantation (CI) with hearing preservation in adolescents. Our aim was to determine if hearing preservation is successful in this population, if the preserved hearing is maintained, and what the potential benefit of preserving hearing in this population is.PatientsFourteen profoundly deaf adolescents with preservation of low-frequency hearing (125, 250, and 500 Hz).InterventionTwelve adolescents had a single-sided CI, and two had bilateral CI. All were having their first implantation, and all patients had hearing preservation surgery (soft surgery).Main Outcome MeasuresHearing preservation was measured with preoperative and postoperative pure-tone audiograms. Speech audiometry was performed before implantation and at subsequent follow-up appointments.ResultsHearing preservation (measurable hearing thresholds) was achieved in 13 of 14 patients. Average follow-up was 2 years 10 months (range, 4 mo–4 yr 9 mo). Three of 13 patients with initial successful hearing preservation had deterioration of their hearing at subsequent follow-up. The addition of naturally preserved hearing to the cochlear implant improved speech audiometry scores compared with using the implants in isolation.ConclusionThis study demonstrates that residual hearing can be consistently preserved and maintained in adolescents during the short-/medium-term using a soft surgical technique to insert standard-length electrodes. The potential benefit of preserving residual low-frequency hearing seems to be improvement in speech discrimination in challenging hearing conditions, although larger studies are required.

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