Objectives: To compare speech test performance of adults with partial deafness cochlear implantation (PDCI) with that of adults with cochlear implant (CI). Based on the results, our objective is to determine the efficacy of the two applications of cochlear implantation, the first characterized by a shallow electrode insertion and preservation of low-frequency natural hearing for partial deafness, and the second characterized by a very deep electrode insertion used in subjects with severe to profound deafness. All the PDCI participants in this study were fitted with a recently upgraded DUET Hearing System from Med-El Corporation, Innsbruck, Austria.
Study Design: This is a two-group comparison study. Eleven experienced PDCI adults and 22 postlingually deafened CI adults participated in this study. Subjects were implanted with either COMBI 40+ or PULSAR cochlear implant.
Methods: Subjects were tested with monosyllable and sentence tests in Polish in quiet and under various signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the conditions of DUET only, CI only, DUET hearing aid (HA) only, and best aided (DUET plus contralateral hearing). CI subjects were tested with their CI.
Results: PDCI subjects performed significantly better than CI subjects did. Speech tests demonstrated the best results in the conditions of best aided and DUET only. The poorest results were obtained in the condition DUET HA only. Results show a greater benefit for the PDCI group of subjects fitted with the DUET, compared to the CI alone group.
Conclusions: The shallow electrode array insertion with preserved low-frequency hearing is a highly effective method for the treatment of partial deafness. The combination of HA and CI processor, i.e., the DUET, is beneficial in noise and in quiet.