Clinical outcomes following cochlear implantation in children with inner ear anomalies

Amal Isaiah, Daniel Lee, Felicity Lenes-Voit, Melissa Sweeney, Walter Kutz, Brandon Isaacson, Peter Roland, Kenneth H. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective A significant proportion of children with congenital hearing loss who are candidates for cochlear implants (CIs) may have inner ear malformations (IEMs). Surgical and speech outcomes following CI in these children have not been widely reported. Methods The charts of children who were evaluated for a CI between 1/1/1986 and 12/31/2014 at a university-based tertiary level pediatric cochlear implant center were reviewed. Principal inclusion criteria included (i) age 1–18 years, (ii) history of bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, and (iii) limited benefit from binaural amplification. Exclusion criteria included (i) underlying diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorder and (ii) lack of follow up for speech assessment if a CI was performed. The following outcome measures were reviewed: (i) imaging findings with magnetic resonance imaging or high resolution computed tomography, (ii) intraoperative complications, and (iii) speech perception categorized as the ability to perceive closed set, open set, or none. Results The prevalence of IEMs was 27% (102 of 381), of which 79% were bilateral. Cochlear dysplasia accounted for 30% (40 of 136) of the anomalies. Seventy-eight of the 102 patients received a CI (78%). Surgery was noted to be challenging in 24% (19 of 78), with a perilymphatic gusher being the most common intraoperative finding. Cochlear dysplasia, vestibular dysplasia and cochlear nerve hypoplasia were associated with poor speech perception (open OR closed set speech recognition scores, 0–23%), although the outcomes in children with enlarged vestibular aqueduct were similar to those of children with normal inner ear anatomy (65%). Conclusions Cochlear implantation is safe in children with IEMs. However, the speech perception outcomes are notably below those of patients with normal anatomy, with the exception of when an enlarged vestibular aqueduct is present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Cochlear implants
  • Hearing restoration
  • Inner ear malformations
  • Speech recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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