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Kisser, Ulrich; Adderson-Kisser, Christine; Förster, Marius; Stelter, Klaus; San Nicolo, Marion; Schrötzlmair, Florian; Müller, Joachim Michael; Hempel, John Martin (2016): Prevalence of Headache in Cochlear Implant Patients: A Cross-sectional Study. In: Otology & Neurotology, Vol. 37, No. 10: pp. 1555-1559
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Introduction: In Internet forums and other social media many reports regarding chronic headaches after cochlear implantation can be found. Although quite rare, there are also some reports in the literature. However, little is known regarding the true prevalence of headaches in persons who have undergone cochlear implant surgery. Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the 1-year prevalence of headache in patients having received a cochlear implantation ("cochlear implant group'') in comparison with patients having undergone middle ear surgery ("surgery group'') and persons with no history of head and neck surgery ("non-ear-nose-throat [ENT] group''). Methods: Cross-sectional, monocentric study using a validated headache questionnaire. Results: Three hundred persons were asked to participate. Two hundred thirty four valid questionnaires were returned. The participants' median age was 62 years, of whom 45% were women. The prevalence of headache was 31% (95%confidence interval [CI]: [21;42]) in the cochlear implant group and 46% (95%-CI: [35;57]) in the surgery group with no significant difference between these two subgroups (p = 0.071). In the non-ENT group the prevalence of headache was significantly higher than in the other two subgroups (64%, 95%-CI: [52;74]). Discussion: The prevalence of headache is not higher in cochlear implant patients in comparison to middle ear surgery patients, other, non-ENT patients and the general German or European population. Conclusion: Cochlear implantation does not seem to be associated with an increased risk for developing headache.