Objective: By discussing the design, findings, strengths, and weaknesses of available studies investigating the influence of angular insertion depth on speech perception, we intend to summarize the current status of evidence; and using evidence based conclusions, possibly contribute to the determination of the optimal cochlear implant (CI) electrode position.
Data sources: Our search strategy yielded 10,877 papers. PubMed, Ovid EMBASE, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched up to June 1, 2018. Both keywords and free-text terms, related to patient population, predictive factor, and outcome measurements were used. There were no restrictions in languages or year of publication.
Study selection: Seven articles were included in this systematic review. Articles eligible for inclusion: (a) investigated cochlear implantation of any CI system in adults with post-lingual onset of deafness and normal cochlear anatomy; (b) investigated the relationship between angular insertion depth and speech perception; (c) measured angular insertion depth on imaging; and (d) measured speech perception at, or beyond 1-year post-activation.
Data extraction and synthesis: In included studies; quality was judged low-to-moderate and risk of bias, evaluated using a Quality-in-Prognostic-Studies-tool (QUIPS), was high. Included studies were too heterogeneous to perform meta-analyses, therefore, effect estimates of the individual studies are presented. Six out of seven included studies found no effect of angular insertion depth on speech perception.
Conclusion: All included studies are characterized by methodological flaws, and therefore, evidence-based conclusions regarding the influence of angular insertion depth cannot be drawn to date.