Comparison of ABR and ASSR using narrow-band-chirp-stimuli in children with cochlear malformation and/or cochlear nerve hypoplasia suffering from severe/profound hearing loss

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology(2021)

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Objectives In pediatric audiology, objective techniques for hearing threshold estimation in infants and children with profound or severe hearing loss play a key role. Auditory brainstem responses (ABR) and auditory steady-state responses (ASSR) are available for frequency-dependent hearing threshold estimations and both techniques show strong correlations but sometimes with considerable differences. The aim of the study was to compare hearing threshold estimations in children with and without cochlear and cochlear nerve malformations. Methods Two groups with profound or severe hearing loss were retrospectively compared. In 20 ears (15 children) with malformation of the inner ear and/or cochlear nerve hypoplasia and a control group of 20 ears (11 children) without malformation, ABR were measured with the Interacoustics Eclipse EP25 ABR system ® (Denmark) with narrow-band CE-chirps ® at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz and compared to ASSR at the same center frequencies under similar conditions. Results ABR and ASSR correlated significantly in both groups ( r = 0.413 in malformation group, r = 0.82 in control group). The malformation group showed a significantly lower percentage of “equal” hearing threshold estimations than the control group. In detail, patients with isolated cochlear malformation did not differ significantly from the control group, whereas patients with cochlear nerve hypoplasia showed significantly greater differences. Conclusion ABR and ASSR should be used jointly in the diagnostic approach in children with suspected profound or severe hearing loss. A great difference in hearing threshold estimation between these techniques could hint at the involvement of cochlear nerve or cochlear nerve hypoplasia itself.
Cochlear malformation, Nervus cochlearis hypoplasia, Hearing threshold estimation, ASSR, ABR, NB chirp
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