The primary objective of this study was to determine whether a revision and/or expansion of current audiologic cochlear implant candidacy criteria is warranted.
The study design was a retrospective review of postoperative speech perception performance for 22 adult cochlear implant recipients who demonstrated preoperative Consonant Nucleus Consonant word recognition scores of 30% or higher in the best-aided condition. This criterion was chosen to exceed that specified by the North American clinical trial of the Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant system.
The mean preoperative best-aided monosyllabic word score for the 22 patients was 41% correct. The degree of postoperative benefit for the best postoperative condition (electric only or bimodal) ranged from 10 to 68 percentage points with a mean benefit of 27 percentage points for the electric-only condition and 40 percentage points for the bimodal condition. Statistical analyses revealed highly significant differences between preoperative-aided, implant-only, and bimodal performance on Consonant Nucleus Consonant monosyllabic word recognition performance. That is, both postoperative scores—electric only and bimodal—were significantly different from one another and from the preoperative best-aided performance.
The current results suggest that a large-scale reassessment of manufacturer and Medicare preoperative audiologic candidacy criteria for adults is warranted to allow more hearing-impaired individuals to take advantage of the benefits offered by cochlear implantation.