J Am Acad Audiol 2017; 28(10): 913-919
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.16115
American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved. (2017) American Academy of Audiology

Cochlear Implantation in Children with Postlingual Progressive Steeply Sloping High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Margaret A. Meredith
Jay T. Rubinstein
Kathleen C. Y. Sie
Susan J. Norton
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Publication History

Publication Date:
06 August 2020 (online)

Background: Children with steeply sloping sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) lack access to critical high-frequency cues despite the use of advanced hearing aid technology. In addition, their auditory-only aided speech perception abilities often meet Food and Drug Administration criteria for cochlear implantation.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to describe hearing preservation and speech perception outcomes in a group of young children with steeply sloping SNHL who received a cochlear implant (CI).

Research Design: Retrospective case series.

Study Sample: Eight children with steeply sloping postlingual progressive SNHL who received a unilateral traditional CI at Seattle Children’s Hospital between 2009 and 2013 and had follow-up data available up to 24 mo postimplant were included.

Data Collection and Analysis: A retrospective chart review was completed. Medical records were reviewed for demographic information, preoperative and postoperative behavioral hearing thresholds, and speech perception scores. Paired t tests were used to analyze speech perception data. Hearing preservation results are reported.

Results: Rapid improvement of speech perception scores was observed within the first month postimplant for all participants. Mean monosyllabic word scores were 76% and mean phoneme scores were 86.7% at 1-mo postactivation compared to mean preimplant scores of 19.5% and 31.0%, respectively. Hearing preservation was observed in five participants out to 24-mo postactivation. Two participants lost hearing in both the implanted and unimplanted ear, and received a sequential bilateral CI in the other ear after progression of the hearing loss. One participant had a total loss of hearing in only the implanted ear. Results reported in this article are from the ear implanted first. Bilateral outcomes are not reported.

Conclusions: CIs provided benefit for children with steeply sloping bilateral hearing loss for whom hearing aids did not provide adequate auditory access. In our cohort, significant improvements in speech understanding occurred rapidly postactivation. Preservation of residual hearing in children with a traditional CI electrode is possible.