Molecular aetiology of ski-slope hearing loss and audiological course of cochlear implantees

Yehree Kim, Jin Hee Han, Hyo Soon Yoo, Byung Yoon Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: A challenge for patients with ski-slope hearing loss is that hearing aids do not adequately amplify the mid-to-high frequencies necessary for speech perception and conversely, cochlear implant (CI) may damage low-frequency hearing. We aimed to describe the clinical profile of patients with ski-slope hearing loss, with a special focus on aetiology of such hearing loss and audiological course of low-frequency hearing after CI. Methods: We recruited hearing-impaired patients who visited a tertiary referral centre and met the criteria for ski-slope hearing loss patients from 2015 to 2021. Genetic testing was performed in all ski-slope hearing loss patients unless refused. Baseline audiograms of patients who continued to use hearing aids or who finally underwent CIs were reviewed. As for CI patients, outcome and hearing preservation rate were rigorously analysed. Results: Of 46 recruited patients with ski-slope hearing loss, 45 agreed to undergo genetic testing and causative variants were identified in 17 (37.8%) patients. The TMC1, MYO7A, and TMPRSS3 variants were the most common, while LRTOMT was newly identified as a causative gene. Twenty-five patients eventually received CI, while 13 continued to wear the hearing aid and 8 patients did not ever try hearing aids. CI in ski-slope hearing loss led to immediate and sufficient improvement of sentence recognition by as early as 3 months, however, the duration of hearing loss was inversely correlated with the sentence recognition score. The average hearing preservation rate (using the HEARRING classification) after CI was 53.0% (SD 30.0) and 45.6% (SD 31.1) at 1 year. Seventy-nine percent of implantees maintained functional low-frequency hearing (better than 85 dB at 250 and 500 Hz) eligible for electric-acoustic stimulation (EAS). A trend was found that patients with hair cell stereocilia-associated genetic variants may have a slightly better preservation, albeit with no statistical significance. Conclusion: Detection rate of a molecular genetic aetiology of ski-slope hearing loss appears to be lower than other type of hearing loss reported in the literature. Especially with short hearing loss duration, CI in ski-slope hearing loss leads to immediate and sufficient speech improvement, while preserving functional low-frequency hearing eligible for EAS as many as in 79%. A certain genetic aetiology might be associated with a trend towards better low-frequency hearing preservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4871-4882
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Cochlear implantation
  • Hearing preservation
  • Ski-slope hearing loss
  • Slim modiolar electrodes
  • Slim straight electrodes


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