11th Annual Cochlear Implant Conference Has Important
Implications for Patients
Editor: The 11th Annual Cochlear Implant Conference, hosted by the
University of North Carolina, provided a wealth of information on
several aspects of cochlear implants. Here's the press release from the
University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
New clinical and research data presented at the 11th International
Conference on Cochlear Implants in Children (CI 2007) identified new
groups of patients that can benefit from advances in hearing technology.
But, equally as important, some of the more than 350 presentations given
at the international conference identified patients who do not benefit
from cochlear implants.
CI 2007 was hosted by the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck
Surgery of the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School
of Medicine. Course co-directors were Harold Pillsbury, MD, chair of the
department; and Craig Buchman, MD, professor and medical director of the
Carolina Children's Communicative Disorders Program at UNC. The
conference, held April 11-14 in Charlotte, NC, was divided into three
clinical areas: cochlear implantation in very young children; patients
with auditory neuropathy; and bilateral cochlear implantation.
Presentation highlights included:
Children with Significant Residual Hearing Benefited from Implants
Dr. Pillsbury presented findings on cochlear implantation in patients
with significant residual hearing. "We showed that at a year and 2
years out, they were doing significantly better with a cochlear implant
than they ever had done with a hearing aid," he said. This is
useful new knowledge, contends Pillsbury, because many practitioners
believed that this group of patients would not benefit from cochlear
Cochlear Implants Significantly Improved Socialization Skills in
Cochlear implants greatly improved the socialization and advancement
of children who received them compared to deaf and hearing-impaired
children without cochlear implants, according to research presented by
John K. Niparko, MD, of Johns Hopkins University.
Implants in Baby's First Year Prove More Beneficial
Researchers Ona Boe Wie and Sten Harris from the University of Oslo
presented findings on the effect of bilateral cochlear implantation on
spoken language skills in children from five months to 18 months old.
"The idea is that you need to put the implant in by the age of one.
If you wait until the child is two, the results are much worse, and that
was surprising to me," says Dr. Pillsbury.
Children Diagnosed With Auditory Neuropathy Can Improve with Implants
Jennifer Weinstock, an audiologist at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, demonstrated that a common
baseline hearing test, ECAP (electrically evoked compound action
potential) for children with auditory neuropathy can help identify which
of these children will benefit from cochlear implants. That contradicts
the commonly held belief that children with auditory neuropathy would do
badly with a cochlear implant. Intracochlear testing identified children
with a positive ECAP score that indicated they were good candidates for
Cochlear Nerve Deficiency More Common Than Previously Thought
A presentation by Dr. Buchman identified one group of patients that
do not benefit from cochlear implants: those who do not have a cochlear
nerve. His presentation featured the story of a young boy whose cochlear
implant was not working. An MRI scan showed that the boy did not have a
cochlear nerve, and thus a cochlear implant would never work for him.
Dr. Buchman's presentation showed further that cochlear nerve
deficiency, which was thought to be an extremely rare condition, is much
more common than previously believed. Currently there are 37 children
with this condition who are being followed at UNC Hospitals.
The UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit integrated health care
system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It
exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North
Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care.