Though the effects of cochlear implantation (CI) on patients with hearing loss has been well described, its effect on the auditory and vestibular symptoms in patients with Ménière’s disease (MD) has not been firmly established.
To determine whether CI in patients with MD improves hearing performance as measured by standard post-CI audiometric testing and to describe the impact of CI on subjective auditory and vestibular quality-of-life measures.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Retrospective review of all patients with MD 18 years or older who met diagnostic criteria for definite MD and underwent CI at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, a tertiary care academic medical center, from 2000 through 2012.
Patients were invited to answer questions regarding their current hearing ability, subjective perception of symptoms, and functional status related to their MD before and after CI. Patient records were reviewed for pertinent information. Results were then analyzed for statistical significance.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Pre-CI and post-CI sentence testing scores, frequency and severity of MD vestibular and auditory symptoms via the MD Functional Level Scale (FLS), and hearing quality of life via the Hearing Handicap Index were reviewed.
Eleven CIs were performed in 10 patients. Mean long-term follow-up was 41 months. The mean age at first implantation was 64 years. The mean sentence testing scores in quiet improved from 22.8% before CI to 77.0% after CI (P < .001) at the most recent follow-up. Mean (SD) pre-CI and post-CI MD-FLS vestibular scores were similar: 3.9 (1.9) and 3.4 (1.9) (P = .52).
Conclusions and Relevance
Patients with MD who undergo CI are capable of achieving substantial receptive communication improvement comparable to the gains experienced by patients without MD. Implantation seems to neither adversely alter the natural history of vestibular function nor notable exacerbate auditory symptoms.