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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Jan;76(1):95-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2011.10.009. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Comparison of bilateral and unilateral cochlear implants in children with sequential surgery.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Oslo, Norway.



The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of bilateral versus unilateral cochlear implants and the importance of the inter-implant interval.


Seventy-three prelingually deaf children received sequential bilateral cochlear implants. Speech recognition in quiet with the first, second and with both implants simultaneously was evaluated at the time of the second implantation and after 12 and 24 months.


Mean bilateral speech recognition 12 and 24 months after the second implantation was significantly higher than that obtained with either the first or the second implant. The addition of a second implant was demonstrated to have a beneficial effect after both 12 and 24 months. Speech recognition with the second implant increased significantly during the first year. A small, non-significant improvement was observed during the second year. The inter-implant interval significantly influenced speech recognition with the second cochlear implant both at 12 and 24 months, and bilateral speech recognition at 12 months, but not at 24 months.


A small, but statistically significant improvement in speech recognition was found with bilateral cochlear implants compared with a unilateral implant. A major increase in speech recognition occurred with the second cochlear implant during the first year. A shorter time interval between the two implantations resulted in better speech recognition with the second implant. However, no definitive time-point was found for when the second implant could no longer add a positive effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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