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Clin. Otolaryngol. 2010, 35, 190–197

Objective:  To evaluate the hearing preservation rate and speech perception scores in patients with profound high frequency hearing loss and acoustically aidable low frequency hearing, managed with the MED-EL electric acoustic stimulation system referenced to the insertion depth of the electrode array.

Study design:  Retrospective data analysis.

Participants and setting:  Ten patients implanted at the Auditory Implant Centre, Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital, London, UK.

Main outcome measures:  Pure tone audiometry, speech perception tests and electrode insertion depth angle.

Results:  Postoperatively, functional hearing preservation allowing electric acoustic stimulation was achieved in eight patients and total preservation of residual hearing in five patients with follow-up periods of more than 12 months. Three of four (75%) patients with an insertion depth of >360° had a threshold shift of >25 dB, and all four patients had a threshold shift of >10 dB. All patients with total hearing preservation had the electrode inserted up to 360° at maximum. Overall, speech perception outcomes increased significantly and hearing impairment was significantly reduced after electric acoustic stimulation or electric stimulation alone as compared with the preoperative scores.

Conclusion:  Electric acoustic stimulation provides significant benefit to individuals with profound high frequency hearing loss. Studies with larger number of patients are needed to establish the optimal electrode insertion angle as well as to further analyse the benefit of electric acoustic stimulation.