Evaluation of safety and efficacy of the Vibrant Soundbridge in the treatment of hearing loss in children and adolescents with primary focus on improvement in speech discrimination.Study Design
Prospective, single-subject repeated-measures design in which each subject serves as his/her own control.Setting
Tertiary referral center.Patients
Nineteen patients aged 5 to 17 years.Intervention
Implantation of an active middle ear implant.Main Outcome Measure
Improvement in word recognition scores, speech reception thresholds, and signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) were evaluated, in addition to air and bone conduction. Oldenburger Kids Satztest/Oldenburger Satztest sentences and Göttinger/Freiburger monosyllables at 65-dB hearing level were tested in two age groups.Results
Significant speech discrimination improvement was seen in all patients after 6 months. In children 5 to 9 years old, mean monosyllable recognition improved from 28.9% (unaided) to 95.5% (Soundbridge-aided). Aided 50% sentence discrimination at 44.1 dB and SNR of −4.9 dB were measured. In patients 10 to 17 years old, mean word recognition improved from 18.5% to 89.0%, sentence reception threshold improved to 40.2 dB, and SNR to −3.6 dB. Comparison between age groups indicated a slight trend toward quicker adaptation by older subjects. However, after initial adjustment, a higher level of overall benefit was seen at 6 months in younger children.Conclusions
Currently, the only middle ear implant approved for pediatric patients, the Vibrant Soundbridge, provides an option in cases of congenital aural atresia or disease-induced defects, when surgical intervention and reconstruction is indicated. The 6-month results in this comparatively large study population validated conclusions found in previous trials.