Quality of Life in Elderly Cochlear-Implant Users
23 April 2019 (online)
Hearing impairment not only affects hearing and speech production, it also has an impact on self-esteem and daily activities. Whether a cochlear implant affects the hearing-related quality of life (QoL) of seniors was investigated in this study.
Using the Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire (NCIQ) we examined the hearing-related quality of life of seniors. Patients were assigned to the groups 60 – 70 years or 71 – 90 years. The questionnaire was completed preoperatively and 3 and 12 months after initial adaptation. Speech understanding was measured with the Freiburger monosyllable test and the HSM sentence test in silence and in noise. The results were statistically evaluated.
The 45 postlingual, unilateral CI-treated patients had a mean implantation age of 72 years. Hearing loss on the contralateral side was mild in 5 patients, moderate in 3, and severe in 37.
Hearing-related quality of life and speech understanding improved in both groups.
The groups differed in the NCIQ at all measurement times, with the younger group always having higher values. Preoperatively, these differences were significant significant (p = 0.006). In speech understanding, there were no significant differences.
The hearing-related quality of life seems to be higher for 60 – 70 year olds than for 71 – 90 year olds. Particularly preoperatively, these differences appear. The trend is the same in both groups. Prolonged hearing loss, especially in old age, can lead to greater limitation in QoL. Therefore, hearing-rehabilitation interventions are advised as early as possible, even in old age.