Three-Year Follow-Up with the Bone Conduction Implant
Journal article, 2020
Background: The bone conduction implant (BCI) is an active transcutaneous bone conduction device where the transducer has direct contact to the bone, and the skin is intact. Sixteen patients have been implanted with the BCI with a planned follow-up of 5 years. This study reports on hearing, quality of life, and objective measures up to 36 months of follow-up in 10 patients. Method: Repeated measures were performed at fitting and after 1, 3, 6, 12, and 36 months including sound field warble tone thresholds, speech recognition thresholds in quiet, speech recognition score in noise, and speech-to-noise thresholds for 50% correct words with adaptive noise. Three quality of life questionnaires were used to capture the benefit from the intervention, appreciation from different listening situations, and the ability to interact with other people when using the BCI. The results were compared to the unaided situation and a Ponto Pro Power on a soft band. The implant functionality was measured by nasal sound pressure, and the retention force from the audio processor against the skin was measured using a specially designed audio processor and a force gauge. Results: Audiometry and quality of life questionnaires using the BCI or the Ponto Pro Power on a soft band were significantly improved compared to the unaided situation and the results were statistically supported. There was generally no significant difference between the two devices. The nasal sound pressure remained stable over the study period and the force on the skin from the audio processor was 0.71 ± 0.22 N (mean ± 1 SD). Conclusion: The BCI improves the hearing ability for tones and speech perception in quiet and in noise for the indicated patients. The results are stable over a 3-year period, and the patients subjectively report a beneficial experience from using the BCI. The transducer performance and contact to the bone is unchanged over time, and the skin area under the audio processor remains without complications during the 3-year follow-up.