The Journal of International
Advanced Otology
Original Article

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


Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and Audiology, Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark


Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Copenhagen, Denmark


Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

J Int Adv Otol 2022; 18: 382-387
DOI: 10.5152/iao.2022.21541
Read: 1401 Downloads: 551 Published: 01 September 2022

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.

Cite this article as: West N, Bunne M, Sass, H, Cayé-Thomasen P. Cochlear implantation for patients with a vestibular schwannoma: Effect on tinnitus handicap. J Int Adv Otol. 2022;18(5):382-387.

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