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Early Signs of Cochlear Implant Failure?
18 April 2018 (online)
On an aftercare visit a 77 year old patient complained of pressure and pain on the right side. She also stated that she suffered from loud tinnitus and vertigo. Her hearing was getting steadily worse since the beginning of 2017. The Patient was implanted with a cochlear implant on the right side in 2012 and heard a “crackle” for the first time in March 2013.
Material and Methods:
Impedance measuring showed high/open electrodes. These electrodes were deactivated and continuous aftercare visits were appointed with the patient to monitor the impedances as they fluctuated. For further evaluation an integrity test was performed by the manufacturer of the cochlear implant and a computed tomography (CT) was implemented. The CT was negative. Additionally, re-implantation of the CI and a new device implantation was suggested to the patient and finally realized.
Broken wires are the conclusion of further tests carried out by the CI manufacturer.
The implantation of the new device showed good results with impedances in the normal range. At the first fitting of the sound processor the patient showed good results. At follow up visits the patient showed intelligibility of 80% at 60 dB and of 100% at 80 dB with the Freiburg Number Test.
This case shows that there were some signs of implant failure as the patient recognized a “crackle” when wearing the CI but that these signs did not conclusively indicate a cochlear implant failure. As such measuring the impedances can provide the first evidence for a possible implant failure. Therefore, impedances should be compared and monitored in such cases. A reimplantation should be considered in case of missing clinical improvement.