Objectives: To review our experiences with some of the preoperative and postoperative findings in five children who were diagnosed with auditory neuropathy and were provided with cochlear implants. We describe changes in auditory function, which enabled these children to have significant improvement in their hearing and communication skills.
Study design: Pre- and postoperatively, these children received complete medical examinations at Mayo Clinic, including related consultations in audiology, pediatrics, neurology, medical genetics, otolaryngology, psychology, speech pathology, and radiology.
Methods: These children typically had additional medical and audiological examinations at more than one medical center. The hearing assessments of these children included appropriate behavioral audiometric techniques, objective measures of middle ear function, acoustic reflex studies, transient (TOAE) or distortion product (DPOAE) otoacoustic emissions, auditory brainstem responses (ABR), and, in some cases, transtympanic electrocochleography (ECoG). After placement of the internal cochlear implant devices (Nucleus CI24), intraoperatively we measured electrode impedances, visually detected electrical stapedius reflexes (VESR) and neural response telemetry (NRT). These intraoperative objective measures were used to help program the speech processor for each child. Postoperatively, each child has had regular follow-up to assure complete healing of the surgical incision, to assess their general medical conditions, and for speech processor programming. Their hearing and communication skills have been assessed on a regular basis. Postoperatively, we have also repeated electrode impedance measurements, NRT measurements, otoacoustic emissions, and electrical auditory brainstem responses (EABR). We now have 1 year or more follow-up information on the five children.
Results: The five children implanted at Mayo Clinic Rochester have not had any postoperative medical or cochlear implant device complications. All of the children have shown significant improvements in their sound detection, speech perception abilities and communication skills. All of the children have shown evidence of good NRT results. All but case D (who was not tested) showed evidence of good postoperative EABR results. Otoacoustic emissions typically remained in the non-operated ear but, as expected, they are now absent in the operated ear.
Conclusion: Our experiences with cochlear implantation for children diagnosed with auditory neuropathy have been very positive. The five children we have implanted have not had any complications postoperatively, and each child has shown improved listening and communication skills that have enabled each child to take advantage of different communication and educational options.