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Date of Graduation
Doctor of Audiology (AuD)
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Cochlear implants have become a viable option for those with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss who gain little benefit from hearing aids and have poor word recognition ability. However, the techniques audiologists use to program these devices are not standardized (Sorkin, 2013). There is little data available which analyzes how audiologists handle clinical cochlear implant programming between the top manufacturers. These companies supply default settings in their products but is it unknown how often audiologists use these in practice in the United States.
In the present study, a questionnaire based on previous European data from Vaerenberg et al. (2014) was designed to address which settings professionals are using with their patients, how they approach bimodal fitting with a cochlear implant and a hearing aid, and which tests they use to evaluate patient and device performance. This questionnaire was distributed through the platform, Qualtrics, to cochlear implant audiologists throughout the United States by email. 47 responses were recorded with a response rate of 70%.
Results indicate a preference for the default value for some parameters, like default pulse width, but not others. Additionally, there are differences between manufacturers, including in the use of default strategy. Relative to Cochlear, there is a trend toward less use of default strategy for MED-EL and especially Advanced Bionics. Preferences for bimodal fitting techniques trend toward using a partner company’s hearing aid, like Cochlear and ReSound. There is no significant correlation between number of implants activated and preference for default.
New and experienced audiologists may benefit from this research in that they may better understand the state of the art of cochlear implant programming. It is clear that there is much variability among audiologists’ cochlear implant programming practices, and documenting these differences is important for the betterment of the field.
Browning, Leanne, "Audiologists’ preferences in programming cochlear implants" (2019). Dissertations, 2014-2019. 212.