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Patient older age not an issue in revision cochlear implantation

The JAMA Network Journals

Older age of a patient does not appear to be an issue when revision cochlear implantation is warranted because of device failure, according to a report published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Cochlear implantation improves speech perception but revision surgery may be needed to resolve a technical issue or restore speech performance. The incidence of revision is low but what is relatively unknown is how, and if, advanced age at revision surgery influences postrevision success.

Margaret T. Dillon, Au.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and coauthors conducted an analysis of patients who underwent revision cochlear implantation: 14 patients younger than 65 years old and 15 patients 65 years or older. The revisions were necessary either because of hard failure (an inability to present electric stimulation) or soft failure (such as pain, shocking, unusual auditory sensations or reduced speech perception abilities).

The study found no association between age at revision surgery and speech perception performance, according to the results.

"The restoration in speech perception abilities within six months of listening experience with the revised device was not influenced by the patient's age at revision implantation. Advanced age should not be a contraindication to revision cochlear implantation even in the setting of a suspected soft failure. Older adults experience gains in speech perception abilities after revision cochlear implantation that meet or exceed previous performance," the study concludes.


JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online January 22, 2015. doi:10.1001/.jamaoto.2014.3418. Available pre-embargo to the media at

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Media Advisory: To contact author Margaret T. Dillon, Au.D., call Tom Hughes at 984-974-1151 or email An author interview will be available when the embargo lifts on the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery website:

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