Despite growing interest in the genetic contribution to cochlear implant (CI) outcomes, only a few studies with limited samples have examined the association of CI outcomes with genetic etiologies. We analyzed CI outcomes using known predictors and genetic testing results to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of genetic etiologies.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records and images of patients who underwent cochlear implantation and genetic testing at a single tertiary medical institution, between May 2008 and December 2020. After excluding those whose speech test results were unavailable, and those in whom the implant was removed due to complications, such as infection or device failure, 203 patients were included in this study. The participants were categorized into adult (≥19 years), child (2–18 years), and infant (<24 months) groups. Outcomes were measured based on categories of auditory perception, monosyllable, disyllable, and sentence scores. For the infant group, the Infant–Toddler Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale score was used.
Among the 203 participants, a causative genetic variant was identified in 117 (57.6%) individuals. The presence of a causative variant was significantly associated with better CI outcomes in the infant group (β = 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.47; p = 0.044), but not in the child and adult groups. In the genetically confirmed patients without cochlear malformation, genetic variants involving the spiral ganglion was a poor prognostic factor in the child group (β = −57.24; 95% confidence interval, −90.63 to −23.75; p = 0.004).
The presence of known genetic etiology of hearing loss was associated with better CI outcomes in the infant group, but not in the child and adult groups. A neural-type genetic variant was a poor prognostic factor in the genetically diagnosed child subgroup without cochlear malformation. Careful genetic counseling should be performed before cochlear implantation.