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A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus
Otorinolaringologia 2012 December;62(4):161-72
Active middle ear implants: an update
Schwab B., Schuon R. A.
ENT-Department, Medical University Hannover, Hannover, Germany
AIM: The evolution of the auditory technology resulted in the constantly increasing use of active middle ear implants (AMEI). The results with these implants are promising, showing considerable hearing benefits for patients with sensorineural or combined hearing loss. A systematic review over the actual AMEI and surgical issues is presented.
METHODS: A review over the literature available is presented in this article. The experience gained so far with the different implantation methods is shown. Due to a broad spectrum of measurement methods, we collected common results in the pure tone audiometry, mainly PTA (dB nHL) before and after implantation, mean gain with the implant and, if presented, the difference to the previous hearing aid.
RESULTS: The literature established the use of active middle ear implants as a save, controllable procedure. The results in the documented time showed a mainly stable hearing gain, more ore less similar to well adjusted conventional hearing aids. A severe deterioration was seen in cases of displacement of the transducer or the microphone.
CONCLUSION: Today the results of active middle ear implants are implanted in a proved secure operation with good results. The subjective quality-of-life scales often show superior satisfaction compared to conventional hearing aids, which is not reflected by the pure tone and speech audiometry. More follow up-documentation and reports are recommended to show a long term hearing gain. A further improvement of implant size, performance and handling would provide a next step prior to structure-preserving cochlea implants.