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Cochlear Implant Successes and Failures Based on 3,400 Patients 

Battmer, Linz, and Lenatz reviewed their extensive database of 23 years, involving more than 3,400 patients implanted in Germany, with regard to cochlear implant cumulative survival rates (CSRs) across cochlear implant models and brands. The authors note that device failure is very rare, and when it occurs, it is almost exclusively in the pediatric population. Their study consists of data on 3,417 Clarion and Nucleus devices implanted in patients from age 5 months to 90 years, from 1984 to 2006.

The most common failure across implants was leakage in ceramic and silicone encased devices. The second most common failure was due to impact from external forces. Across all devices, device failure was 5.1 percent (173 of 3,417).

Of the failures, all but one were re-implanted. Of those that were re-implanted, 37 of 39 of Nucleus patients, and 135 of 135 Clarion patients had full reinsertion. With regard to speech recognition for people with re-implantation—1 of 14 Nucleus patients performed significantly worse, 10 of 14 performed significantly better and 3 of 14 had no significant change. Eight of 32 Clarion patients performed significantly worse, 9 of 32 performed significantly better and 15 of 32 showed no significant change.

For More Information, References and Recommendations:
Battmer RD, Lina B, and Lenatz T. (2009) A Review of Device Failure in More Than 23 Years of Clinical Experience of a Cochlear Implant Program with More Than 3,400 Implantees. Otology & Neurotology 30(4): 455–463.