Relationship between Electrocochleography, Angular Insertion Depth, and Cochlear Implant Speech Perception Outcomes

Michael W. Canfarotta, Brendan P. O'Connell, Christopher K. Giardina, Emily Buss, Kevin D. Brown, Margaret T. Dillon, Meredith A. Rooth, Harold C. Pillsbury, Craig A. Buchman, Oliver F. Adunka, Douglas C. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: Electrocochleography (ECochG), obtained before the insertion of a cochlear implant (CI) array, provides a measure of residual cochlear function that accounts for a substantial portion of variability in postoperative speech perception outcomes in adults. It is postulated that subsequent surgical factors represent independent sources of variance in outcomes. Prior work has demonstrated a positive correlation between angular insertion depth (AID) of straight arrays and speech perception under the CI-alone condition, with an inverse relationship observed for precurved arrays. The purpose of the present study was to determine the combined effects of ECochG, AID, and array design on speech perception outcomes. Design: Participants were 50 postlingually deafened adult CI recipients who received one of three straight arrays (MED-EL Flex24, MED-EL Flex28, and MED-EL Standard) and two precurved arrays (Cochlear Contour Advance and Advanced Bionics HiFocus Mid-Scala). Residual cochlear function was determined by the intraoperative ECochG total response (TR) measured before array insertion, which is the sum of magnitudes of spectral components in response to tones of different stimulus frequencies across the speech spectrum. The AID was then determined with postoperative imaging. Multiple linear regression was used to predict consonant-nucleus-consonant (CNC) word recognition in the CI-alone condition at 6 months postactivation based on AID, TR, and array design. Results: Forty-one participants received a straight array and nine received a precurved array. The AID of the most apical electrode contact ranged from 341° to 696°. The TR measured by ECochG accounted for 43% of variance in speech perception outcomes (p < 0.001). A regression model predicting CNC word scores with the TR tended to underestimate the performance for precurved arrays and deeply inserted straight arrays, and to overestimate the performance for straight arrays with shallower insertions. When combined in a multivariate linear regression, the TR, AID, and array design accounted for 72% of variability in speech perception outcomes (p < 0.001). Conclusions: A model of speech perception outcomes that incorporates TR, AID, and array design represents an improvement over a model based on TR alone. The success of this model shows that peripheral factors including cochlear health and electrode placement may play a predominant role in speech perception with CIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-948
Number of pages8
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Angular insertion depth
  • Cochlear implant
  • Electrocochleography
  • Peripheral auditory physiology
  • Precurved array
  • Speech perception
  • Straight array


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