Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Dillon: The goal of this study was to evaluate whether age at revision cochlear implantation influences post-revision speech perception performance. A cochlear implant is an implantable auditory prosthesis that aims to provide sound to patients with certain degrees of hearing loss, by converting and transmitting the acoustic sound into electric stimulation. Research has shown cochlear implant recipients experience improved speech perception in quiet and noise as compared to preoperative performance with conventional amplification (ie, hearing aids). There is variability in postoperative performance. Understanding the cause or causes of this variability is the primary goal of a number of research studies. One suspected indicator for this variability is advanced age at the time of surgery.
Though the incidence of revision cochlear implantation is low, it may be warranted when the internal device is no longer functional or not functioning optimally. We reviewed the pre-revision and post-revision speech perception performance of younger (< 65 years of age) and older (> 65 years of age) adult cochlear implant recipients. There was no difference between the post-revision speech perception performance between the two groups.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Dillon: The results from the cohorts reviewed here support that advanced age should not be a contraindication to revision cochlear implantation when warranted.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Dillon: The first is to repeat this analysis with larger cohorts. Our sample included 14 younger adults and 15 older adults. Additionally, this study evaluated outcomes within the first 6 months of listening experience after revision cochlear implantation. Reviewing outcomes after long-term listening experience would be beneficial to assess trends in performance over time.
Dillon MT, Adunka OF, Anderson ML, et al. Influence of Age at Revision Cochlear Implantation on Speech Perception Outcomes. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online January 22, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2014.3418.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with Margaret T. Dillon, AuD, & University of North Carolina School of Medicine (2015). Cochlear Implants Work Equally Well In Younger and Older Patients MedicalResearch.com