Cochlear Implantation for Patients with a Vestibular Schwannoma: Effect on Tinnitus Handicap


BACKGROUND: Tinnitus is a common symptom among individuals with a vestibular schwannoma. In recent years, cochlear implantation, often combined with tumor resection, is an increasingly used option in the management of these patients. The existing literature does not account well for the effect of treatment on tinnitus burden. Thus, this paper reports the effect of cochlear implantation on tinnitus in a cohort of vestibular schwannoma patients.

METHODS: Individuals with vestibular schwannoma undergoing cochlear implantation were retrospectively reviewed for tinnitus burden, as evaluated by the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, administered before and after implantation. The outcome measures were total Tinnitus Handicap Inventory score and scores from each of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory subdomains (functional, emotional, and catastrophic). In addition, the existing literature on tinnitus in cochlear implanted vestibular schwannoma patients was reviewed.

RESULTS: Tumor management consisted of simultaneous resection (77%), previous resection (9%), observation (9%) and radiation (5%). Complete Tinnitus Handicap Inventory evaluation was available for 17 patients. After implantation, the median THItotal changed from 18 to 10 (P = .0006), the subdomain THIfunctional from 10 to 3 (P = .006), the THIemotional from 3 to 0 (P = .023) and the THIcatastrophic from 6 to 1 (P = .004). In the scarcely reported tinnitus outcomes in the literature, most but not all cases experienced a decrease in tinnitus.

CONCLUSIONS: The tinnitus burden is significantly reduced by cochlear implantation in individuals with a vestibular schwannoma. This agrees with findings for other etiologies indicating cochlear implantation and supports the eligibility for hearing rehabilitation with a cochlear implant for this specific group of patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of International Advanced Otology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)382-387
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


  • Cochlear Implantation/adverse effects
  • Cochlear Implants/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neuroma, Acoustic/complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tinnitus/etiology


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