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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 106-113

Remote programming of cochlear implants: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic experience


1 Department of Otolaryngology, Aljaber Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology Specialized Hospital, Ministry of Health, Ahsa; King Abdullah Ear Specialist Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University Medical City, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 King Abdullah Ear Specialist Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University Medical City, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Research, MED-El GMBH, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Isra Aljazeeri
King Abdullah Ear Specialist Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 245, Riyadh 11411
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjoh.sjoh_19_22

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Objectives: This work aimed to study the feasibility and stakeholders' satisfaction with remote programming (RP) of cochlear implants. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was conducted in a tertiary referral ear specialist center. The audiological and speech outcomes of the patients were measured. The satisfaction of all stakeholders, including remote experts (REs), local hosts (LHs), and patients/families, was evaluated through detailed questionnaires. Results: Twenty-two RP sessions for 15 patients were included. The satisfaction levels of LH, REs, and patients/families with the RP sessions were all above 6/10, 5/10, and 7/10 Likert scale, respectively (with 10/10 being the most satisfied). All stakeholders would recommend RP to others. There was no statistically significant difference in the audiological outcomes including for Pure Tone Average (PTA4), speech reception threshold, and word recognition score between the session preceding RP, RP session and the session after the RP (Wilcoxon test, P value ranging from 0.06 to 0.73). Data logging after the RP session showed a higher duration of speech processor usage (mean difference 0.64 h/day, Wilcoxon test, P = 0.006). Conclusion: In the era of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, RP of confidence interval (CI) can be a safe, feasible, and satisfactory alternative to classical in-office programming sessions. Further studies and efforts should be done to make the RP an available option for CI recipients to save time and cost.


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