To test the hypothesis that children with clear promontory electrically evoked auditory brain stem responses (prom-EABRs) would outperform, after cochlear implantation, children who had no prom-EABR preoperatively.
A prospective study was undertaken on 47 implanted children assigning them to two groups (group A: 35 children with a clear wave e-V in the preoperative prom-EABR and group B: 12 children with no prom-EABR). Speech perception and speech intelligibility were assessed annually up to 3 yr after implantation with the IOWA sentence test (level A and level B), Connected Discourse Tracking, Categories of Auditory Performance, and Speech Intelligibility Rating.t-test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to compare the above outcome measures in the two groups.
There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups on any of the outcome measures at any interval. Moreover, the small differences observed showed no consistent trend toward either group of children. Further analysis revealed that the outcomes have not been affected by possible confounding factors (age at implantation, duration of deafness, preoperative unaided pure-tone thresholds, and number of inserted electrodes).
The results suggest that children with no prom-EABR performed at levels comparable with children who had clear promontory responses preoperatively. The prognostic value of prom-EABR is limited and absence of a prom-EABR is not, by itself, a contraindication for cochlear implantation. However, in selected cases (congenital malformations, cochlear nerve dysplasia or suspected aplasia, narrow internal auditory canal, etc.) the presence of a prom-EABR is a positive finding in the assessment of candidates for cochlear implantation as it confirms the existence of intact auditory neurones.