In adult cochlear implant patients, conventional audiometry is used to measure postoperative residual hearing which requires active listening and patient feedback. However, audiological measurements in pediatric cochlear implant patients are both challenging as well as time consuming. Intracochlear electrocochleography (ECOG) offers an objective and a time-efficient method to measure frequency-specific cochlear microphonic or difference thresholds (CM/DIF) thresholds that closely approximate auditory thresholds in adult cochlear implant patients. The correlation between CM/DIF and behavioral thresholds has not been established in pediatric cochlear implant patients. In the present study, CM/DIF thresholds were compared with audiometric thresholds in pediatric cochlear implant patients with postoperative residual hearing.
Thirteen (11 unilateral and 2 bilateral) pediatric cochlear implant patients (mean age = 9.2 years ± 5.1) participated in this study. Audiometric thresholds were estimated using conventional, condition play, or visual reinforcement audiometry. A warble tone stimulus was used to measure audiometric thresholds at 125, 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz. ECOG waveforms were elicited using 50-msec acoustic tone-bursts. The most apical intracochlear electrode was used as the recording electrode with an extra-cochlear ground electrode. The ECOG waveforms were analyzed to determine CM/DIF thresholds that were compared with pediatric cochlear implant patients’ audiometric thresholds.
The results show a significant correlation (r = 0.77, p < 0.01) between audiometric and CM/DIF thresholds over a frequency range of 125 to 2000 Hz in pediatric cochlear implant patients. Frequency-specific comparisons revealed a correlation of 0.82, 0.74, 0.69, 0.41, and 0.32 between the audiometric thresholds and CM/DIF thresholds measured at 125, 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz, respectively. An average difference of 0.4 dB (±14 dB) was measured between the audiometric and CM/DIF thresholds.
Intracochlear ECOG can be used to measure CM/DIF thresholds in pediatric cochlear implant patients with residual hearing in the implanted ear. The CM/DIF thresholds are similar to the audiometric thresholds at lower test frequencies and offer an objective method to monitor residual hearing in difficult-to-test pediatric cochlear implant patients.