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The relationship between the electrical stapedial muscle reflex threshold and electrical and behavioral measures in cochlear implant patients


Programming of multichannel cochlear implants (CIs) requires subjective responses to a series of sophisticated psychophysical percepts. It is often difficult for young prelinguistically deaf children to provide adequate responses for device fitting. This is especially true in setting levels of maximum comfortable loudness, whereby failure to indicate growth of loudness may result in elevation of stimulus levels to the threshold of pain. The acoustic or stapedial muscle reflex has been used previously to provide objective confirmation of acoustic stimulation, and there have been attempts to use the reflex in hearing-aid fitting. It has also been suggested that electrically elicited middle-ear muscle reflexes [electrically evoked stapedial reflex threshold (ESRT)] may have applicability in confirming and quantifying electrical stimulation through a CI. To assess the relationship between ESRT characteristics and levels of loudness perception with CIs, determine the reliability of the response, and investigate the potential use of ESRT in CI programming, 26 prelinguistically deafened CI users were evaluated. Reflexes have also been attempted on 312 electrodes, with responses present in 213 (68.3%). Comfort levels predicted by subjective judgments were highly correlated with the ESRT in individuals with CI. ESRT provides an objective, accurate, and rapid method of estimating maximum comfortable loudness levels, which may be useful in the initial programming of young implant recipients.


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Correspondence to Samir Asal MD.

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Asal, S., Sobhy, O.A. & Nooman, M. The relationship between the electrical stapedial muscle reflex threshold and electrical and behavioral measures in cochlear implant patients. Egypt J Otolaryngol 32, 49–52 (2016).

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