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Adv Otorhinolaryngol. 2010;67:6-13. doi: 10.1159/000262592. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

Hearing preservation in cochlear implantation and drug treatment.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Liège, CHU Liège, Liège, Belgium.


Insertion of an electrode array into the cochlea produces immediate damage to the inner ear, which is responsible for a hearing loss. In addition, a delayed hearing loss can be observed. In order to maximize hearing preservation after insertion of an electrode and to enhance the performance of the cochlear implant, it has been proposed to deliver pharmacological agents to the inner ear. Molecules can be administered locally to the inner ear through a direct perilymphatic perfusion or through the round window membrane. These modalities of treatment have already been successfully applied to some patients with inner ear diseases. In this paper, we will review some basic aspects of drug delivery to the inner ear to prevent the degeneration of the neurosensory hair cells and auditory neurons, and the actual applicability to humans in order to maintain hearing function after the insertion of electrodes of a cochlear implant.

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