Cochlear Implantation in Children with Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct: A Systematic Review of Surgical Implications and Outcomes

Ear Hear. 2023 May-Jun;44(3):440-447. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000001309. Epub 2022 Nov 18.


Objectives: This study investigated age at implantation, improvement in hearing and speech perception outcomes, as well as surgical complications in pediatric cochlear implant recipients with Pendred Syndrome (PS) or non-syndromic enlarged vestibular aqueduct (NSEVA).

Design: A systematic review of the literature between 1984 and 2021 was performed. Two independent reviewers performed abstract and full-text screening using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. The inclusion criteria were: English language, cochlear implant, age at implantation available, age <18 years, PS, Mondini malformation, and enlarged vestibular aqueduct. Full-text analysis was completed using the National Institute of Health assessment tool for case series and case-control studies. Studies were also graded according to the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine grading system.

Results: In total, 198 studies were identified and screened, and 55 studies were included for analysis. Audiological outcomes were available in 46 studies, and the four-frequency pure-tone audiogram average improved by 60 to 78 dB HL due to cochlear implantation. Auditory performance and speech intelligibility scores increased by 44%. The overall average implantation age was 60 months. The implantation age was 21 months lower in the studies where individuals were implanted after the year 2000 compared with those implanted before the year 2000. Perilymph gusher/oozing was the most common surgical incident reported, occurring in 187 of 1572 implantations.

Conclusions: In children with PS/NSEVA, cochlear implantation improves pure-tone average by 60 to 78 dB HL and capacity of auditory performance/speech intelligibility by 44%. The implantation age for these children has decreased during the last two decades but is still somewhat higher than reported for unselected pediatric cochlear implantation. Perilymph gusher/oozing is the most common surgical complication.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cochlear Implantation*
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Speech Perception*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vestibular Aqueduct* / abnormalities
  • Vestibular Aqueduct* / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Deafness, Autosomal Recessive 4
  • Pendred syndrome