Audiology and Neurotology 2021-02-24

An Evaluation of the Relationship between Retinal Nerve Fiber Thickness, Cochlear Nerve Thickness, the Level of Tinnitus, and Hearing Loss in Unilateral Tinnitus Patients

Publication date 24-02-2021


Background: In this study, optic coherence tomography (OCT) examination was performed to check whether there was any interaction between ophthalmic axonal structures in unilateral tinnitus patients, and the relationship between optic nerve thickness and cochlear nerve thickness was evaluated.
Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the relatioship between hearing loss, tinnitus, and nerve thicknesses.
Study Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Tertiary referral university hospital.
Patients: The study included 88 patients with unilateral tinnitus, for which no organic cause could be found in physical examination, psychiatric evaluation, or with imaging methods.
Study groups were formed of the tinnitus side and control groups were formed of the healthy side as follows: Group 1 (Non-tinnitus side normal hearing values – n = 30), Group 2 (non-tinnitus side minimal hearing loss – n = 27), Group 3 (non-tinnitus side moderate hearing loss – n = 31), Group 4 (tinnitus side normal hearing values – n = 25), Group 5 (tinnitus side minimal hearing loss – n = 25), and Group 6 (tinnitus side moderate hearing loss – n = 38).
Intervention: Retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness was evaluated with OCT, and the cochlear nerve cross-sectional area was evaluated with MRI.
Main Outcome Measures: RNFL measurements were taken with OCT from the subfoveal area (RNFL-SF) and 1.5 mm temporal to the fovea (RNFL-T µm) and nasal (RNFL-N µm) sectors. On MRI, 3 measurements were taken along the nerve from the cerebellopontine angle as far as the internal auditory canal, and the mean value of these 3 measurements was calculated.
Results: When the groups were evaluated in respect of cochlear nerve thickness, a significant difference was seen between Group 1 and both the groups with hearing loss and the tinnitus groups. In the subgroup analysis, a statistically significant difference was determined between Group 1 and Groups 3, 4, 5, and 6 (p = 0.013, p = 0.003, p #x3c; 0.001, and p #x3c; 0.001, respectively). When the groups were evaluated in respect of the RNFL-SF (µm), RNFL-T (µm), and RNFL-N (µm) values, the differences were determined to be statistically significant (p #x3c; 0.001 for all). In the correlation analysis, a negative correlation was determined between hearing loss and cochlear nerve diameter (r: −0.184, p = 0.014), and RNFL-N (r: −0.272, p #x3c; 0.001) and between tinnitus and cochlear nerve diameter (r: −0.536, p #x3c; 0.001), and RNFL-T (r: −0.222, p #x3c; 0.009).
Conclusion: The study results clearly showed a relationship between cochlear nerve fiber thickness and hearing loss and the severity of tinnitus in cases with unilateral tinnitus and that there could be neurodegenerative factors in the disease etiology. A similar relationship seen with the RNFL supports the study hypothesis. Audiol Neurotol

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Unexplained Variation in Benefit of Treatment of Congenital Unilateral Aural Atresia: A Review of the Literature

K Vogt,J Desmet,AM Janssen,MJH Agterberg,AFM Snik

Publication date 10-02-2021


Objective: A review of published data regarding binaural hearing after treatment of congenital unilateral conductive hearing loss (UCHL) due to aural atresia. Treatment options concern atresia surgery (reconstructive surgery), application of a bone conduction device (BCD), or application of a middle ear implant (MEI).
Data Sources: Database Pub Med was searched for articles published in English and German between January 1, 1994, and January 1, 2019.
Study Selection: The initial search identified 52 studies, of which 9 met the inclusion criteria.
Data Synthesis: Comparison of studies was based on a structured review. Meta-analysis was not feasible because of the heterogeneity of outcome measures, the limited number of relevant papers (9), and diverse types of treatment (5).
Conclusions: Treatment of UCHL results in bilateral hearing instead of binaural hearing. The large intersubject variability in benefit of treatment is unexplained with a clear improvement in the minority of listeners and a limited improvement or binaural interference in most listeners after atresia repair or amplification with a BCD or MEI. Audiol Neurotol

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Social Support and Tinnitus Distress: The Importance of Developing Positive Psychological Qualities in Patients with Chronic Tinnitus

X Wang,M Qi,X Zeng,W Cai,G Yin,S Zhang,J Cen,J Gu,L Yuan,B Fang,A Lu,Z Li

Publication date 04-02-2021


Introduction: The role of social support in the relief of tinnitus distress and related mechanisms remains unclear. This study aimed to confirm a hypothesis that the influence of social support on tinnitus distress is mediated by resilience and self-esteem.
Methods: The Social Support Rating Scale, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Positive Version of Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory were used to assess 296 patients who experience chronic subjective tinnitus. The collected data were subjected to correlational analysis, mediating effect testing, and structural equation model analysis using R 3.3.1 with the mediate and lavaan packages.
Results: The result showed that social support had significant positive correlations with resilience and self-esteem, while resilience and self-esteem had significant negative correlations with tinnitus distress. Furthermore, social support indirectly affected tinnitus distress through the full mediating effects of resilience and self-esteem and could indirectly affect resilience through the partial mediating effects of self-esteem.
Conclusion: These results suggested that the key to social support for alleviating tinnitus distress lies in the development of patients’ resilience and self-esteem. Promoting the development of positive psychological quality of tinnitus patients and improving their perception of social support may become the new approaches of clinical management of tinnitus. Audiol Neurotol

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The Possible Role of Sclerostin in the Pathogenesis of Tympanosclerosis

Y Huang,X Wang,F Wu,Y Lu,G Liang,A Liu

Publication date 28-01-2021


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate sclerostin (SOST) expression in a rat model of experimental tympanosclerosis (TS) and its possible role in the formation of TS.
Materials and Methods: Thirty-four SD rats were randomly divided into 2 groups: experimental group (n = 17) and normal group (n = 17). The left tympanic cavities in the experimental group were inoculated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The changes of tympanic membranes were examined and recorded under otoendoscope. Haematoxylin-eosin staining was adopted to detect the morphological changes in the tympanic membrane and middle ear mucosa. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis were used to observe the expression of SOST, Wnt3a, β-catenin, and P-ERK1/2.
Results: In the experimental group, sclerotic lesions were observed in 54.5% ears in the end of 6 weeks. Morphological changes such as mucosa incrassation, inflammatory cells infiltration, fibrous tissue proliferation, and interstitial tissue incrassation prominently appeared in the tympanic membrane and middle ear mucosa. SOST protein was mainly distributed in the cytoplasm of epithelial cells and gland cells, the expression of which increased significantly in the calcified experimental ears. In addition, expression levels of Wnt3a, β-catenin, and P-ERK1/2 increased significantly in the calcified group too.
Conclusion: The upregulated expression level of SOST may be involved in the formation of TS, first, through the pro-phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in the inflammatory stage, and then through the enhancement of Wnt3a in the osteogenic stage. Audiol Neurotol 2021;26:102–110

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Children with Auditory Brainstem Implant: How Do They Perform in Motor and Language Skills?

G Ertugrul,F Aslan,G Sennaroglu,L Sennaroglu

Publication date 26-01-2021


Background: Young children are able to explore new objects and practice language through the acquisition of motor skills that lead to their overall development. Congenital hearing loss and total vestibular loss may contribute to the delay in speech and motor skill development.
Objectives: To investigate the relationship between motor development performance, speech perception, and language performance in children with auditory brainstem implant (ABI).
Method: Ten children, aged 4–17 years (mean age 9.76 ± 4.03), fitted with unilateral ABI for at least 2 years due to the presence of labyrinthine aplasia and rudimentary otocyst at least 1 side were included in the study. Several standardized tests, such as Bruininks-Oseretsky Motor Proficiency Test-2 (BOT-2), Children’s Auditory Perception Test Battery, Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale (MAIS), and Test of Early Language Development-3, were performed to evaluate their skills of fine motor control, balance, manual dexterity, language, and auditory perception.
Results: A significant correlation was established between the BOT-2 manual dexterity and MAIS scores (r = 0.827, p #x3c; 0.05) and between the manual dexterity and language skills (for expressive language, r = 0.762, p #x3c; 0.05; for receptive language, r = 0.650, p #x3c; 0.05). Some of the BOT-2 balance tasks, such as standing on 1 leg on a line with eyes closed, standing on 1 leg on a balance beam with eyes open, standing heel-to-toe on a balance beam, and walking forward heel-to-toe on a line, showed a strong correlation with their receptive and expressive language performance (p #x3c; 0.05).
Conclusion: The current study has indicated that significantly poor manual and balance performances are associated with poor speech perception and language skills in children with ABI. The authors recommend performing a vestibular assessment before and after ABI surgery and the use of a holistic rehabilitation approach, including auditory and vestibular rehabilitation, to support development of the children with ABI. Audiol Neurotol

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The Effects of Paired versus Sequential Stimulation on Speech Recognition Outcomes of Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients

MA Holcomb,JR Dornhoffer,TR McRackan

Publication date 18-01-2021


Purpose: Cochlear implant (CI) sound-processing strategies are important to the overall success of a CI recipient. This study aimed to determine the effects of 2 Advanced Bionics (AB) CI-processing strategies, Optima-S and Optima-P, on speech recognition outcomes in adult CI users.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was completed at a tertiary academic medical center. Seventeen post-lingually deafened adult CI users (median age = 58.6 years; age range: 23.5–78.9 years) with long-term use of a paired sound-processing strategy (Optima-P) were reprogrammed with a sequential strategy (Optima-S). Demographic data and speech recognition scores with pre- and post-intervention analyses were collected and compared with respect to the 95% confidence interval for common CI word and sentence recognition tests.
Results: Using Optima-S sound-processing strategy, all patients (100%) performed equivalent or better on word and sentence testing than with Optima-P. More specifically, 17.6, 41.2, and 58.8% of the patients performed above the 95% confidence interval for speech recognition conditions of monosyllabic words, sentences in quiet, and sentences in noise, respectively. All patients (100%) selected Optima-S as their preferred strategy for future CI use.
Conclusion: Speech recognition performance with Optima-S processing strategy was stable or improved compared to results with Optima-P in all tested conditions, and subjective preference of Optima-S was selected by all patients. Given these results, CI clinicians should consider programming AB CI users with Optima-S sound-processing strategy to optimize overall speech recognition performance. Audiol Neurotol

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Impact of Cochlear Implantation on Neurocognitive Subdomains in Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients

C Völter,L Götze,I Haubitz,J Müther,S Dazert,JP Thomas

Publication date 13-01-2021


Introduction: Age-related hearing loss affects about one-third of the population worldwide. Studies suggest that hearing loss may be linked to cognitive decline and auditory rehabilitation may improve cognitive functions. So far, the data are limited, and the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. The study aimed to analyze the impact of cochlear implantation on cognition in a large homogeneous population of hearing-impaired adults using a comprehensive non-auditory cognitive assessment with regard to normal-hearing (NH) subjects.
Material and Methods: Seventy-one cochlear implant (CI) candidates with a postlingual, bilateral severe or profound hearing loss aged 66.3 years (standard deviation SD 9.2) and 105 NH subjects aged 65.96 years (SD 9.4) were enrolled. The computer-based neurocognitive tool applied included 11 subtests covering attention (M3), short- and long-term memory (recall and delayed recall), working memory (0- and 2-back, Operation Span OSPAN task), processing speed (Trail Making Test TMT A), mental flexibility (TMT B), inhibition (c Flanker and i Flanker), and verbal fluency. CI patients underwent a neurocognitive testing preoperatively as well as 12 months postoperatively. Impact of hearing status, age, gender, and education on cognitive subdomains was studied. Additionally, after controlling for education and age, cognitive performance of CI subjects (n = 41) was compared to that of NH (n = 34).
Results: CI users achieved significantly better neurocognitive scores 12 months after cochlear implantation than before in most subtests (M3, delayed recall, 2-back, OSPAN, i Flanker, and verbal fluency; all p #x3c; 0.05) except for the TMT A and B. A significant correlation could be found between the postoperative improvement in speech perception and in the attentional task M3 (p = 0.01). Hearing status (p = 0.0006) had the strongest effect on attention, whereas education had a high impact on recall (p = 0.002), OSPAN (p = 0.0004), and TMT A (p = 0.005) and B (p = 0.003). Inhibition was mainly age-dependent with better results in younger subjects (p = 0.016). Verbal fluency was predicted by gender as females outperformed men (p = 0.009). Even after controlling for age and education NH subjects showed a significantly better performance than CI candidates in the recall (p = 0.03) and delayed recall (p = 0.01) tasks. Postoperatively, there was no significant difference between the 2 groups anymore.
Conclusion: Impact of cochlear implantation on neurocognitive functions differs according to the cognitive subdomains. Postoperatively, CI recipients performed as good as age- and education-matched NH subjects. Audiol Neurotol

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Effect of Number of Electrodes Used to Elicit Electrical Stapedius Reflex Thresholds in Cochlear Implants

LE Charroó,S Bermejo,AS Paz Cordovez,C Rodríguez,CC Finley,AA Saoji

Publication date 12-01-2021


Introduction: When mapping cochlear implant (CI) patients with limited reporting abilities, the lowest electrical stimulus level that produces a stapedial reflex (i.e., the electrical stapedius reflex threshold eSRT) can be measured to estimate the upper bound of stimulation on individual or a subset of CI electrodes. However, eSRTs measured for individual electrodes or a subset of electrodes cannot be used to predict the global adjustment of electrical stimulation levels needed to achieve comfortable loudness sensations that can be readily used in a speech coding strategy. In the present study, eSRTs were measured for 1-, 4-, and 15-electrode stimulation to (1) determine changes in eSRT levels as a function of the electrode stimulation mode and (2) determine which stimulation mode eSRT levels best approximate comfortable loudness levels from patients’ clinical maps.
Methods: eSRTs were measured with the 3 different electrical stimulation configurations in 9 CI patients and compared with behaviorally measured, comfortable loudness levels or M-levels from patients’ clinical maps.
Results: A linear, mixed-effects, repeated-measures analysis revealed significant differences (p #x3c; 0.01) between eSRTs measured as a function of the stimulation mode. No significant differences (p = 0.059) were measured between 15-electrode eSRTs and M-levels from patients’ clinical maps. The eSRTs measured for 1- and 4-electrode stimulation differed significantly (p #x3c; 0.05) from the M-levels on the corresponding electrodes from the patients’ clinical map.
Conclusion: eSRT profiles based on 1- or 4-electrode stimulation can be used to determine comfortable loudness level on either individual or a subset of electrodes, and 15-electrode eSRT profiles can be used to determine the upper bound of electrical stimulation that can be used in a speech coding strategy. Audiol Neurotol

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Delaying Cochlear Implantation Impacts Postoperative Speech Perception of Nontraditional Pediatric Candidates

LR Park,EL Perkins,JS Woodard,KD Brown

Publication date 22-12-2020


Introduction: As pediatric cochlear implant (CI) candidacy expands, children with greater degrees of residual hearing are receiving CIs. These nontraditional candidates have audiometric thresholds that meet adult manufacturer labeling but are better than current pediatric guidelines allow. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of delayed cochlear implantation on speech perception in nontraditional pediatric CI recipients.
Methods: Pediatric CI recipients with a history of progressive hearing loss and a preoperative 4-frequency pure-tone average of ≤75 dB HL at the time of implantation were considered for this retrospective study. Preoperative serial audiograms and word recognition scores were reviewed, and a method was created to establish a date when each individual ear 1st met nontraditional candidacy. The length of time between the date of candidacy and implantation was calculated and defined as the “delay time.” A multiple linear regression investigated delay time, age at surgery, surgery type (1st vs. 2nd side), and array type as predictive factors of maximum postoperative Consonant-Nucleus-Consonant (CNC) word scores. A one-way ANCOVA was performed comparing the postoperative CNC scores between subjects grouped by delay time.
Results: A significant regression was found (F(4, 38) = 5.167, p = 0.002, R2 = 0.353). Both age at implantation (p = 0.023) and delay time (p = 0.002) predicted CNC word scores. Longer delay time was associated with poorer word recognition scores, while older age at implantation correlated with higher CNC word scores in this progressive hearing loss group. A significant difference was noted between subjects implanted with #x3c;1 year of delay and those with 3 or more years of delay (p = 0.003). All ears implanted within a year of candidacy achieved word recognition abilities that are generally accepted as above average (M = 84.91).
Conclusion: CI candidacy for adults has evolved to allow for greater degrees of residual hearing, while audiometric guidelines for children have not changed since 2000. Our findings suggest that delay of cochlear implantation, even for children with significant levels of residual hearing, leads to poorer outcomes. Modified candidacy guidelines for children should be established to expedite referral to multidisciplinary CI teams and minimize delays in this population. Audiol Neurotol

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Auditory Outcome after Cochlear Implantation in Children with DFNB7/11 Caused by Pathogenic Variants in TMC1 Gene

S Gallo,P Trevisi,C Rigon,E Caserta,D Seif Ali,R Bovo,A Martini,M Cassina

Publication date 22-12-2020


Introduction: Non-syndromic hereditary hearing loss is characterized by extreme genetic heterogeneity. So far, more than 100 pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in TMC1 gene have been reported in patients with autosomal recessive hearing loss (HL) DFNB7/11. The prevailing auditory phenotype of individuals with DFNB7/11 is congenital, profound, bilateral HL, but the functional outcome after cochlear implantation (CI) described in the literature is variable. The objective of this work is to evaluate the auditory outcome after CI in pediatric patients with DFNB7/11, born to non-consanguineous parents.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of genetic and audiological data of DFNB7/11 patients followed up in a single Italian otolaryngology clinic was performed. Cases with biallelic pathogenic variants in TMC1 were selected from the cohort of children with non-syndromic hearing loss who had undergone CI and had been molecularly characterized by multigene panel testing. All patients underwent extensive audiological assessment, and the auditory outcome after CI was evaluated.
Results: DFNB7/11 was diagnosed in a total of 3 patients from 2 non-consanguineous families; a novel disease-causing variant in TMC1 was detected c.962G#x3e;A p.(Trp321*). All the affected children showed the typical DFNB7/11 phenotype characterized by prelingual, severe-to-profound HL. The patients showed an excellent functional outcome after CI; speech perception, nonverbal cognition, and speech performance were comparable to those of patients with DFNB1 deafness. Discussion/Conclusion: Our results do not support the variable auditory outcome reported in the literature, which may be affected by several social and environmental factors and by the genetic background. Audiol Neurotol

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