A cool approach to reducing electrode-induced trauma: Localized therapeutic hypothermia conserves residual hearing in cochlear implantation

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10 Scopus citations


Objective The trauma caused during cochlear implant insertion can lead to cell death and a loss of residual hair cells in the cochlea. Various therapeutic approaches have been studied to prevent cochlear implant-induced residual hearing loss with limited success. In the present study, we show the efficacy of mild to moderate therapeutic hypothermia of 4 to 6 °C applied to the cochlea in reducing residual hearing loss associated with the electrode insertion trauma. Approach Rats were randomly distributed in three groups: control contralateral cochleae, normothermic implanted cochleae and hypothermic implanted cochleae. Localized hypothermia was delivered to the middle turn of the cochlea for 20 min before and after implantation using a custom-designed probe perfused with cooled fluorocarbon. Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were recorded to assess the hearing function prior to and post-cochlear implantation at various time points up to 30 days. At the conclusion of the trials, inner ears were harvested for histology and cell count. The approach was extended to cadaver temporal bones to study the potential surgical approach and efficacy of our device. In this case, the hypothermia probe was placed next to the round window niche via the facial recess or a myringotomy. Main results A significant loss of residual hearing was observed in the normothermic implant group. Comparatively, the residual hearing in the cochleae receiving therapeutic hypothermia was significantly conserved. Histology confirmed a significant loss of outer hair cells in normothermic cochleae receiving the surgical trauma when compared to the hypothermia treated group. In human temporal bones, a controlled and effective cooling of the cochlea was achieved using our approach. Significance Collectively, these results suggest that therapeutic hypothermia during cochlear implantation may reduce traumatic effects of electrode insertion and improve conservation of residual hearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Cochlear implant
  • Electrode insertion
  • Hair cell loss
  • Residual hearing
  • Therapeutic hypothermia
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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