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Within-Subject Comparison of Word Recognition and Spiral Ganglion Cell Count in Bilateral Cochlear Implant Recipients

Seyyedi, Mohammad*†; Viana, Lucas M.*†‡; Nadol, Joseph B. Jr.*†

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000443
Cochlear Implants

Objectives Although published reports have not demonstrated a positive correlation between the number of residual spiral ganglion cells (SGCs) and word recognition scores in patients with unilateral multichannel cochlear implants, this study was designed to retest this hypothesis in patients with bilateral multichannel cochlear implants.

Materials and Methods From a pool of 133 temporal bones, all subjects with bilateral multichannel cochlear implants who were deafened bilaterally by the same etiology were studied. A total of 12 temporal bones from 6 subjects were identified and processed after death for histology. The SGCs were counted using standard techniques. The differences between left and right SGC counts as well as the differences in word recognition scores were calculated for each subject. Correlation analysis was performed between the differences of SGC counts and the differences of word recognition scores.

Results Differences in SGC counts were highly correlated with the differences in word recognition scores (R = 0.934, p = 0.006).

Conclusion This study suggests higher residual SGCs predicted better performance after implantation in a given patient. The results also support attempts to identify factors which may promote survival of SGCs.

*Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School; †Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.; and ‡Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Joseph B. Nadol Jr., M.D., Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Otolaryngology, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114; Email:

This work was supported by grant R01-DC000152 from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2014 by Otology & Neurotology, Inc. Image copyright © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health/Anatomical Chart Company