The Role of Auditory Evoked Potentials in the Context of Cochlear Implant Provision

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Auditory evoked potentials (AEP) are highly demanded during the whole process of equipping patients with cochlear implants (CI). They play an essential role in preoperative diagnostics, intraoperative testing, and postoperative monitoring of auditory performance and success. The versatility of AEP's is essentially enhanced by their property to be evokable by acoustic as well as electric stimuli. Thus, the electric responses of the auditory system following acoustic stimulation and recorded by the conventional surface technique as well as by transtympanic derivation from the promontory (Electrocochleography [ECochG]) are used for the quantitative determination of hearing loss and, additionally, electrically evoked compound actions potentials (ECAP) can be recorded with the intracochlear electrodes of the implant just adjacent to the stimulation electrode to check the functional integrity of the device and its coupling to the auditory system. The profile of ECAP thresholds is used as basis for speech processor fitting, the spread of excitation (SOE) allows the identification of electrode mislocations such as array foldover, and recovery functions may serve to optimize stimulus pulse rate. These techniques as well as those relying on scalp surface activity originating in the brainstem or the auditory cortex accompany the CI recipient during its whole life span and they offer valuable insights into functioning and possible adverse effects of the CI for clinical and scientific purposes.

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