Impact of Cochlear Implantation on Speech Understanding, Depression, and Loneliness in the Elderly

Poissant, Sarah F.; Beaudoin, Francesca; Jiayi Huang; Brodsky, Jacob; Lee, Daniel J.
August 2008
Journal of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery;Aug2008, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p488
Academic Journal
Objective: To compare speech understanding ability, the level of depression, and the degree of loneliness experienced by elderly cochlear implant (CI) users (≥ 70 years), adult CI users (≤ 60 years), and elderly hearing aid (HA) users (≥ 70 years). Design: Clinical study. Setting: Tertiary academic neuro-otologic and audiologic centre. Methods: Three groups of patients were enrolled: (1) nine unilateral CI users 70 years or older at the time of implantation (mean 77.7 years), (2} eight unilateral CI users 60 years or younger at the time of implantation (mean 51.1 years), and (3) nine bilateral HA users 70 years or older mean 77.5 years). Subjects underwent speech perception testing and completed two scales regarding their perceived levels of depression (pre-/post-CI) and feelings of loneliness (pre-/post-CI). Main Outcome Measure: Speech understanding scores in quiet and in noise and quality of life indicators (UCLA Loneliness Questionnaire, Geriatric Depression Screening Scale). Results: There were no perioperative complications. No significant differences in speech understanding ability in quiet or in noise between elderly and younger CI patients were observed (p < .05). Cochlear implantation decreased perceived depression in elderly recipients and loneliness in both elderly and younger recipients. Finally, elderly CI users were no more depressed or lonely than their age-matched peers with mild-to-moderate hearing loss who use HAs. Conclusions: Cochlear implantation in elderly patients results in speech perception abilities comparable to those of younger CI recipients, as well as measurable improvements in depression and loneliness.


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