Bilateral use of active middle ear implants: speech discrimination results in noise

Astrid Wolf-Magele, Viktor Koci, Johannes Schnabl, Patrick Zorowka, Herbert Riechelmann, Georg Mathias Sprinzl

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

7 Citations (Scopus)


Binaural sound reception has advantages over unilateral perception, including better localization and sound quality as well as speech and tone reception in both quiet and noisy environments. Up to now, most active middle ear implant (AMEI) users have been unilaterally implanted, but patient demand for an implant on the other side is increasing. Ten bilaterally-AMEI implanted native German-speaking adults were included in the study. The Oldenburg sentence test was used to measure speech reception thresholds in noise. The subject's signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at a speech reception score of 50 % was calculated for different noise conditions. SRT was measured as a function of noise condition (nc) and listening condition (lc)-for example, SRT (lc, nc), with nc from S0N0, S0N-90, or S0N90 and lc from left, right or both. For each noise condition, the squelch effect and the binaural summation effect were calculated. Patients in this study demonstrated improvement with bilateral AMEIs compared to right or left AMEI only in all three tested listening conditions. Statistical significance was found in the S0N0 condition to favor usage of bilateral AMI versus either the right or left side only. The benefits of binaural hearing are well known, also in normal-hearing individuals. In the future every bilateral implantation should be a part of the clinical routine. Bilateral implantation can help to reduce problems in background noise and restore directional hearing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2065-2072
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2016


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hearing
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive/physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Mixed Conductive-Sensorineural/physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural/physiopathology
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ossicular Prosthesis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Sound Localization/physiology
  • Speech Perception/physiology


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