13th Hearing and Structure Preservation Workshop

The cycle workshops take place once a year and they focus on scientific research on possibilities of inner ear structures preservation after a cochlear implant electrode insertion. 13th edition of the Workshop, took place on 2-5 October 2015, and was chaired by prof. Shin-ichi Usami from Shinshu University School of Medicine in Japonii.

Within last years, scientists have collected evidences that cochlear implantation brings better hearing benefits if inner ear structures are preserved, regardless of type and level of hearing impairment. To preserve these structures should nowadays be a main goal in case of each patient. The research presented by Dr. George Wann from Vanderbilt University in the USA indicates that higher probability of gaining hearing benefits from a cochlear implant have patients treated with longer electrodes with distantly located contacts and inserted into cochlea via the round window. These results confirm that the hearing preservation concept presented by prof. Skarżyński over 15 years ago is correct.

The participants of the meeting in Tokyo agreed though that preserving the structures of inner ear after cochlear implantation is still a great challenge for both – implants’ producers and otosurgeons. There are many factors which can influence a degree of hearing preservation, such as: type of electrode, depth of its insertion into cochlea, performed surgical procedure, as well as individual characteristics of each patients, for example age, degree and duration of hearing impairment, its progression and etiology.

The workshop in Tokyo was also attended by the representatives of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. They have been active participants since the beginning. The Institute is the leading world center in the field of electro-acoustic stimulation and runs one of the largest programs of partial deafness treatment. The program started first in world surgery performed by prof. Skarżyński in 2002, and it was a cochlear implantation in patient with partial deafness.  It is worth to mention that In Japan, which hosted the workshop, the use of electro-acoustic stimulation as clinical procedure in children and adults was recognized not until 2013. Its costs are covered by health insurance.

Professor Henryk Skarżyński presented the results of the largest pediatric program of cochlear implantation, performed in the Institute. He drew attention to a degree of hearing preservation, particularly in patients with correct or slight impairment on low frequencies. The results of hearing preservation were presented retrospectively, using the New Classification of  Hearing Preservation after Cochlear Implantation, elaborated by the HEARRING working group gathering the representatives of leading world otosurgical centers.

This Classification was also a referent point for many authors from different centers – proving that this is a tool which allows for standardization of methodology, and therefore for comparing the results. Assoc. Prof. Artur Lorens from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing discussed extended criteria of qualification for electro-acoustic stimulation. Moreover, we have presented screening hearing results performed in order to check the prevalence of high frequency hearing impairments among school-age children in Poland.

The meeting has been considered to be successful due to the interesting workshop and high level of presentations. The next cycle event will take place in Nashville (the USA).