Hearing rehabilitation and microbial shift after middle ear surgery with Vibrant Soundbridge in patients with chronic otitis media

Karl Ludwig Bruchhage, Mariia Lupatsii, Friederike Möllenkolk, David Leffers, Arwa Kurabi, Tim Jürgens, Simon Graspeuntner, Daniela Hollfelder, Anke Leichtle*

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit


Introduction: Patients with otitis media (OM) encounter significant functional hearing impairment with conductive, or a combined hearing loss and long-term sequelae involving impaired speech/language development in children, reduced academic achievement and irreversible disorders of middle and inner ear requiring a long time therapy and/or multiple surgeries. In its persistent chronic form, Otitis media (COM) can often only be treated by undergoing ear surgery for hearing restoration. The persistent inflammatory reaction plays a major role, often caused by multi-resistant pathogens in the ear. Herein, we present outcomes of patients implanted with currently the only FDA approved active Middle Ear Implant Vibrant Soundbridge (VSB), suffering from persistent COM. Methods: The study enrolled 42 patients, treated by performing middle ear (ME) surgery to different extents and implanted with the VSB to various structures in the ME. Included were 17 children and 25 adults that had recurrent and/or persisting OM and significant hearing loss. Preoperative and postoperative patients' audiometric data were evaluated and the benefit with VSB assessed using the Glasgow Benefit Inventory for adults and pediatric cohorts. The microbial spectrum of pathogens was assessed before and after surgery, exploring the colonization of the otopathogens, as well as the intestinal microbiome from individually burdened patients. Results: The mean functional gain is 29.7 dB HL (range from 10 to 56.2 dB HL) with a significant improvement in speech intelligibility in quiet. Following VSB implantation, no significant differences in coupling were observed at low complication rates. Postoperatively patients showed significantly increased benefit with VSB compared to the untreated situation, including less otorrhea, pain, medical visits, and medication intake, with no recurrent OM and significant bacterial shift in otopathogens. The analysis of the intestinal microbiome displayed a high abundance of bacterial strains that might be linked to chronic and persistent inflammation. Conclusions: Functional ear surgery including rehabilitation with a VSB in patients suffering from COM present to be safe and effective. The successful acceptance accompanied by the improved audiological performance resulted in significant benefit with VSB, with a shift in the ear pathogens and altered microbiome and thus is a great opportunity to be treated.

ZeitschriftEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Seiten (von - bis)3107-3118
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 07.2023

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Profilbereich: Lübeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Zentren: Universitäres Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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