A new study finds that older age of cochlear implant patients does not appear to be an issue when revision cochlear implantation is necessary due to device failure. According to a study report published in the January 22, 2015 online edition of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, revision surgery of cochlear implantation may sometimes be needed to resolve technical problems or restore device performance. Though the incidence of revision is reportedly low, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) wanted to investigate whether advanced age at time of revision surgery might influence post-revision success.

The UNC researchers conducted an analysis of 29 patients who underwent revision cochlear implantation. The study analysis included 14 patients younger than 65 years old, and 15 patients 65 years or older. The revisions were reportedly necessary for these patients either because of hard failure (inability to present electric stimulation), or soft failure (pain, shocking, unusual auditory sensations, or reduced speech perception abilities). According to study results, there was no association between patient age at the time of revision surgery and post-surgery speech perception performance.

Margaret T. Dillon, AuD

Margaret T. Dillon, AuD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The restoration in speech perception abilities within 6 months of listening experience with the revised device was not influenced by the patient’s age at revision implantation,” said Margaret T. Dillon, AuD, assistant professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-authors.

“Advanced age should not be a contraindication to revision cochlear implantation even in the setting of a suspected soft failure. Older adults experience gains in speech perception abilities after revision cochlear implantation that meet or exceed previous performance.”

Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery