Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) as a Cause of Facial Nerve Stimulation After Cochlear Implantation: A Case Report

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Sep;131(9):1043-1047. doi: 10.1177/00034894211051229. Epub 2021 Oct 15.


Objective: To discuss persistent facial nerve stimulation (FNS) related to repeated electrostatic discharge (ESD) shock following cochlear implantation.

Methods: Single case report with literature review.

Results: FNS is a feared complication after cochlear implantation, occurring in approximately 7% of cases, with most patients having anatomic abnormalities. The presented case has no anatomical abnormalities but reported frequent environmental static shock. FNS during the first 1 to 3 seconds of processor attachment caused a significant decrease in the patient's quality of life, requiring subsequent re-implantation with full resolution.

Conclusions: FNS is a complication of cochlear implantation that can cause a great deal of distress and discomfort. Frequent electrostatic discharge (ESD) contributed to device malfunctioning and FNS in a patient with otherwise normal anatomy and should be avoided if possible.

Keywords: ESD; cochlear implants; electrostatic discharge; facial nerve stimulation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cochlear Implantation* / adverse effects
  • Cochlear Implants* / adverse effects
  • Cochlear Nerve
  • Facial Nerve / surgery
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Static Electricity