Studies that investigate the subjective benefit from a bone conduction implant (BCI) sound processor in patients with single-sided sensorineural deafness (SSD) have been limited to examining short- and mid-term benefit. In the current study, we performed a survey among 44 SSD BCI users with a median follow-up time of 50 months.Materials and Methods
Forty-four experienced SSD BCI users participated in the survey, which consisted of the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit, the Single-Sided Deafness Questionnaire, the Short Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults, and a self-made user questionnaire. For patients with tinnitus, the Tinnitus Questionnaire was also completed. The results of the survey were correlated with contralateral hearing loss, age at implantation, duration of the hearing loss at the time of implantation, duration of BCI use, and the presence and burden of tinnitus.Results
In total, 86% of the patients still used their sound processor. The Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit and the Short Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults show a statistically significant overall improvement with the BCI. The Single-Sided Deafness Questionnaire and the user questionnaire showed that almost 40% of the patients reported daily use of the sound processor. However, the survey of daily use reveals benefit only in certain circumstances. Speech understanding in noisy situations is rated rather low, and 58% of all patients reported that their BCI benefit was less than expected.Conclusion
The majority of the patients reported an overall improvement from using their BCI. However, the number of users decreases during a longer follow-up time and patients get less enthusiastic about the device after an extended period of use, especially in noisy situations. However, diminished satisfaction because of time-related reductions in processor function could not be ruled out.