Active Middle Ear Implantation in Elderly People: A Retrospective Study

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Objective:To evaluate the outcomes of younger (<60 yr) and older (≥60 yr) patients implanted with the Vibrant Soundbridge (VSB). The aim was to determine if there were differences between groups.Method:A retrospective study was used to evaluate all patients who were implanted and fit with a VSB during 2008 and 2009 at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University Innsbruck. Differences in audiologic, medical, and surgical outcomes between younger and older patients were evaluated.Results:No patients had major complications during or after the surgical procedure. All patients had a good hearing benefit as supported by improvements in hearing thresholds from the preoperative to the postoperative condition in the sound field. There were differences between groups in speech understanding postoperatively; however, the differences were not statistically significant.Conclusion:All patients had, independent of age, good audiologic benefit from VSB use. Based on the low risk of medical or surgical complications, the easy use of the hearing implant, audiologic improvements, and potential social benefits, we think that the VSB should be regularly offered to adults with hearing loss, whether they are young or old.

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