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A Middle Ear Implant, the Symphonix Vibrant Soundbridge: Retrospective Study of the First 125 Patients Implanted in France

Sterkers, Olivier*; Boucarra, Didier*; Labassi, Samia; Bebear, Jean-Pierre; Dubreuil, Christian§; Frachet, Bruno; Fraysse, Bernard; Lavieille, Jean-Pierre#; Magnan, Jacques**; Martin, Christian††; Truy, Eric‡‡; Uziel, Alain§§; Vaneecloo, François Michel∥∥


Objective The Vibrant Soundbridge is an active semi-implantable middle ear implant for the rehabilitation of patients with a sensorineural hearing loss who are not able to derive adequate benefit from conventional hearing aids. A retrospective study was performed to assess the overall level of satisfaction of implanted patients and to investigate the potential determinants of postoperative success.

Study Design A retrospective survey of audiological data from repeated measures and subjective data from self-assessment scales administered postoperatively was conducted to determine the degree of benefit and satisfaction for Vibrant Soundbridge implantees.

Setting Twenty-one tertiary referral and teaching hospitals.

Subjects The first 125 VSB implantees implanted in France between August 1997 and May 2001 were included in the study.

Results No clinically significant change was observed for residual hearing postoperatively. Most patients (83%) reported they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the Vibrant Soundbridge. Analysis of correlation revealed a moderate correlation (Pearson coefficient r = 0.59) between the degree of benefit reported via the patient survey and the degree of benefit reported via the Glasgow Benefit Inventory. A moderate correlation (Pearson coefficient r = 0.66) was observed between speech comprehension scores in quiet for the preoperative unaided condition and the postoperative aided Vibrant Soundbridge condition. No correlation was observed between subjective reports of satisfaction postoperatively and performance on preoperative objective tests or patient characteristics.

Conclusion The results indicate a high level of satisfaction with the VSB as a treatment of sensorineural hearing impairment in patients with a wide range of characteristics. Preoperative scores for unaided speech comprehension tests in quiet may be a potential indicator of success on aided Vibrant Soundbridge speech comprehension tests postoperatively but do not reflect patient satisfaction with the device reported on self-assessment scales.

*Hôpital Beaujon AP-HP, INSERM EMI-U0112, Faculté Xavier Bichat, Université Paris, Clichy; †Siemens Audiologie France; ‡Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Bordeaux, Bordeaux; §Hôpital Lyon Sud, Lyon; Hôpital Avicenne Bobigny AP-HP; ¶Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Purpan, Toulouse; #Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble; **Hôpital Nord Marseille; ††Hôpital Bellevue, St. Etienne; ‡‡Hôpital Herriot, Lyon; §§Hôpital Guy de Chauliac, Montpellier; and ∥∥Hôpital Salengro, Lille, France

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Professor Olivier Sterkers, Hôpital Beaujon AP-HP, INSERM EMI-U0112, Faculté Xavier Bichat, Université 100, Bd du Général Leclerc, 92110 Clichy, France. Email: olivier.sterkers@bjn.ap-hop-paris

© 2003 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.