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Cochlea implantation at an early age is important in rehabilitating profoundly hearing impaired children. Given the incidence of pneumococcal otitis media in young children, there has been concern that cochlear implantation could increase the possibility of otitis media, leading to labyrinthitis, in this age group. Clinical experience has not indicated an increase in the frequency of otitis media and labyrinthitis in implanted adults or children over two years. However, labyrinthitis has occurred in implanted animals with otitis media. In order to assess the impact of cochlear implants on the occurrence of labyrinthitis, pneumococcal otitis media was induced in 21 kittens. Thirty-two kitten cochleas were implanted, of which 9 had a fascial graft and 9 a Gelfoam® graft. Nine control cochleas were unimplanted. Labyrinthitis occurred in 44% of unimplanted controls, 50% of implanted ungrafted cochleas, and 6% of implanted grafted cochleas. There was no statistically significant difference between the incidence of labyrinthitis in the implanted cochleas and the unimplanted controls. However there was a statistically significant difference between the ungrafted and grafted cochleas, but not between the two types of graft.


Journal article


Australian Journal of Otolaryngology

Publication Date





90 - 92