Cochlear Implantation in Cases of Unilateral Hearing Loss: Initial Localization Abilities

Margaret T. Dillon, Emily Buss, Meredith L. Anderson, English R. King, Ellen J. Deres, Craig A. Buchman, Kevin D. Brown, Harold C. Pillsbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The present study evaluated early auditory localization abilities of cochlear implant (CI) recipients with normal or near-normal hearing (NH) in the contralateral ear. The goal of the study was to better understand the effect of CI listening experience on localization in this population.

DESIGN: Twenty participants with unilateral hearing loss enrolled in a prospective clinical trial assessing outcomes of cochlear implantation (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02203305). All participants received the MED-EL Standard electrode array, were fit with an ear-level audio processor, and listened with the FS4 coding strategy. Localization was assessed in the sound field using an 11-speaker array with speakers uniformly positioned on a horizontal, semicircular frame. Stimuli were 200-msec speech-shaped noise bursts. The intensity level (52, 62, and 72 dB SPL) and sound source were randomly interleaved across trials. Participants were tested preoperatively, and 1, 3, and 6 months after activation of the audio processor. Performance was evaluated in two conditions at each interval: (1) unaided (NH ear alone [NH-alone] condition), and (2) aided, with either a bone conduction hearing aid (preoperative interval; bone conduction hearing aid + NH condition) or a CI (postoperative intervals; CI + NH condition). Performance was evaluated by comparing root-mean-squared (RMS) error between listening conditions and between measurement intervals.

RESULTS: Mean RMS error for the soft, medium, and loud levels were 66°, 64°, and 69° in the NH-alone condition and 72°, 66°, and 70° in the bone conduction hearing aid + NH condition. Participants experienced a significant improvement in localization in the CI + NH condition at the 1-month interval (38°, 35°, and 38°) as compared with the preoperative NH-alone condition. Localization in the CI + NH condition continued to improve through the 6-month interval. Mean RMS errors were 28°, 25°, and 28° in the CI + NH condition at the 6-month interval.

CONCLUSIONS: Adult CI recipients with normal or near-normal hearing in the contralateral ear experienced significant improvement in localization after 1 month of device use, and continued to improve through the 6-month interval. The present results show that binaural acclimatization in CI users with unilateral hearing loss can progress rapidly, with marked improvements in performance observed after only 1 month of listening experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-619
Number of pages9
JournalEar and hearing
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Cochlear Implantation in Cases of Unilateral Hearing Loss: Initial Localization Abilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this