Early Fitting in Cochlear Implantation: Benefits and Limits

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Objective:Evaluation of a shortened delay time between surgical placement of the cochlear implant (CI) device and processor activation to less than 8 days (early CI fitting). Assessment of benefits and limits of early fitting in terms of medical, technical, audiological, and subjective outcome.Study Design:Prospective.Setting:Tertiary referral center.Patients:Forty-one patients scheduled for cochlear implant surgery divided into early fit (EF, n = 21) and control group (CG, n = 19).Main Outcome Measures:Questionnaires were used to evaluate technical, medical, and subjective outcomes associated with early fitting. Additional, electrode impedance and speech recognition scores were measured. These data, collected preoperative, at first activation and after 3 months were compared with the CG with standard fitting.Results:The medical and audiological status of the EF subjects allowed early fitting in nearly all patients (20/21). Evidence of pain, delayed wound healing, or other compromises was equal in both study groups. Speech recognition scores show comparable development over time for EF and CG. Average electrode impedance was significantly higher in the CG at first activation.Conclusions:Early fitting of the sound processor is feasible and did not compromise wound healing or generates additional pain. During the first month following surgery, reduction of wound swelling can be expected. Hence, regular inspection of magnet strength is recommended at follow-ups. Over all, early activation of their CI device was highly appreciated by nearly all patients.

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