Preliminary speech recognition results after cochlear implantation in patients with unilateral hearing loss: a case series
1 Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Central Army Hospital Koblenz, Ruebenacher Str. 170, 56072 Koblenz, Germany
2 Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Head and Neck Surgery, University of Wuerzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 11, 97080 Wuerzburg, Germany
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2011, 5:343 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-343Published: 2 August 2011
Cochlear implants known to provide support in individuals with bilateral hearing loss may also be of great benefit for individuals with unilateral hearing loss. This case report demonstrates the positive effects of cochlear implantation on speech understanding in noise conditions in patients with unilateral hearing loss and normal hearing on the contralateral side. To the best of our knowledge, the data presented here are from the first few cases to receive a cochlear implant for unilateral hearing loss.
Four Caucasian German men, two aged 48 and the others aged 51 and 57 years old, with post-lingual unilateral hearing loss and normal hearing on the contralateral side were implanted with a cochlear implant. All our patients were members of the German army. Before and after implantation, they were given a battery of speech tests in different hearing conditions to assess the effect of unilateral cochlear implantation on speech understanding in noise conditions. Test results showed that all patients benefited from unilateral cochlear implantation, particularly in terms of speech understanding in noise conditions.
Unilateral cochlear implantation might be a successful treatment method for patients with unilateral hearing loss not benefiting from alternative treatment options. The results of this case report open up the field of cochlear implantation for expanded criteria and new areas of research.