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Impact of Hair Cell Preservation in Cochlear Implantation: Combined Electric and Acoustic Hearing

Turner, Christopher W.; Gantz, Bruce J.; Karsten, Sue; Fowler, Jennifer; Reiss, Lina A.

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e3181f24005
Cochlear Implants

Objective: This article reviews some of the potential benefits of preserving low-frequency residual hearing using a short-electrode cochlear implant. Both the status of the inner ear and acoustic characteristics of speech cues are important factors. How does the magnitude of the potential benefits depend on the candidacy criteria for implantation with a hearing-preservation electrode?

Background: Previous research has demonstrated that preserving residual hearing in cochlear implantation can provide significant advantages for the understanding of speech in background noise as well as for the aesthetic qualities of music and other sounds. Developing optimal candidacy guidelines for these devices is a current goal.

Methods: In a large group of patients with Hybrid (acoustic + electric) cochlear implant, performance in the recognition of speech in background of other talkers is measured and compared with patients with traditional long-electrode implant. In addition, a number of patient characteristics are compared to success with the short-electrode implant.

Results: Age and duration of hearing loss are found to be predictive factors for the success of the short-electrode approach.

Conclusion: Optimal criterion for candidacy for the use of the short-electrode versus a traditional long electrode can improve the outlook for patients with severe-to-profound high-frequency hearing loss.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Department of Otolaryngology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Christopher W. Turner, Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.; E-mail:

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

© 2010 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.