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The association between electrode impedance and short-term outcomes in cochlear implant recipients of slim modiolar and slim straight electrode arrays.

OBJECTIVES: Electrode impedance measurements from cochlear implants (CI) reflect the status of the electrode array as well as the surrounding cochlear environment, and could provide a clinical index of functional changes with the CI. The goals of this study were to examine (1) the impact of electrode array type on electrode impedance, and (2) the relationship between electrode impedance and short-term hearing preservation and speech recognition outcomes.

METHODS: Retrospective study of 115 adult hearing preservation CI recipients of a slim modiolar or slim straight array. Common ground electrode impedances, pre- and post-operative hearing thresholds and CNC word recognition scores were retrieved.

RESULTS: Electrode impedances were significantly higher for recipients of the straight electrode array. Within individuals, electrode impedances were stable after the first week post-activation. However, increased standard deviation of electrode impedances was associated with greater loss of low frequency hearing at initial activation, and with poorer speech recognition at 6 months post-implantation.

CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrate that electrode impedances depend on the type of implanted array. Findings also suggest that there may be a role for the variability in electrode impedance across electrodes as an indicator of changes in the intracochlear environment that contribute to outcomes with a CI.

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