Patients with congenital unilateral conductive hearing loss
(UCHL) can either be watchful monitored or treated surgically through the fitting of a percutaneous bone conduction
device (BCD) or, in some cases, atresia repair. The current study evaluated the long-term compliance and satisfaction with a percutaneous BCD in this specific population.
Fifty-three consecutive patients with congenital
UCHL treated with a percutaneous BCD in our tertiary referral center between 1998 and 2011 were identified. Clinical and audiological data were retrospectively gathered from the patients’ files. The patients were interviewed by telephone about their current device usage status and were asked to complete the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale (SSQ).
Compliance with the BCD was 56.6% after a mean follow-up of 7 years. The mean age at implantation of the users (22 years) was significantly higher than that of the nonusers (10 years). The mean time of device usage before the patients stopped using the BCD was 5 years. The primary reasons mentioned for quitting the BCD were experiencing excess background noise and/or subjectively not receiving enough benefit. Objectively measured features of binaural processing affected by the BCD were found to correlate with long-term BCD usage. The SSQ revealed significant improvement in the aided condition compared with the nonaided condition in the users, in contrast to the nonusers.
The current disappointing long-term compliance figures indicate the need for an even more careful and individualized approach with life-long follow-up when fitting BCDs in this specific population, especially in children.