Seniors who have a severe to profound hearing loss experience the same benefits of cochlear implants as younger adults with implants, a study shows.

An Italian study finds that cochlear implantation among older adults with a severe hearing loss results in quality of life comparable to that of younger patients with cochlear implants.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the benefits of cochlear implants (CIs) on speech perception, quality of life and cognitive function in seniors with a severe hearing loss compared to younger adults with cochlear implants.

Speech perception improves

In the study, speech perception significantly improved in both groups of implanted patients. There were no significant differences in quality of life between younger and older patients.

Statistical analysis of the data found a significant improvement in performance in speech audiometric tests one year after CI activation and at last examination compared with pre-implantation scores among both the older and younger patients with CIs.

According to the authors, the study supports the observation that quality of life in older adults with a severe hearing loss improves after implantation to a level comparable with younger individuals using CIs.

About the study

The study was conducted among cochlear implant recipients at Brescia University Hospital in Italy between 2004 and 2015. The audiological criteria of inclusion in the experimental group were profound progressive post-lingual hearing loss, previous hearing aid use, at least one year of unilateral or bilateral CI use, regular CI fitting sessions and speech therapy lasting one year. The minimum age was 65 years or older.

A total of 69 participants were included in the study. 25 implanted patients were 65 years or older. The control group consisted of 19 implanted adult patients aged 50 years or younger. A third control group comprised 25 normal-hearing participants aged 65 years or older.

Among older adults with CI, there were 23 unilateral and 2 bilateral CI users. The younger group of implanted patients consisted of 17 unilateral and 2 bilateral CI users.

The study, “Cognitive function and quality of life in older adult patients with cochlear implants”, was published in the International Journal of Audiology.

Source: and the International Journal of Audiology

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