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Cochlear implantation among older adults: does advanced age impact speech understanding and quality
of life?
Beatty C. , Driscoll C. , Neff B. , Olund A. , Peterson A. , Sladen D.
Mayo Clinic Rochester, Otolaryngology, Rochester, United States, 2Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, United States
Intro: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of age on speech understanding and quality of life in a
group of adults with cochlear implants. To date, studies disagree as to whether older adults perform equally well
as younger adults on speech understanding. It is possible that age related differences exist on some measures,
and not others, depending on the complexity of the task. Subjects were evaluated preoperatively as well as 12
months after initial activation using a variety of tasks. Outcome measures included hearing sensitivity, CNC word
recognition and AzBio sentence recognition in noise, and Quality of Life.
Results: Forty subjects were implanted with a mean age of 56.2 years (range 22 to 92 years). Results
demonstrate significant gains in performance for speech understanding for CNC words (p < .001), AzBio
sentences, (P < .05) and quality of life (p < .001) Age related differences were found for CNC words and AzBio
sentences, but not quality of life.
Discussion: Results confirm that older adults derive significant benefit from cochlear implantation. Further, age
related patterns of speech understanding seen among hearing adults also exist for adults with cochlear implants.
Conclusion: Age should not be a contraindication to implantation, though older adults require specific
counseling on expectations. Also, intervention for this group requires special attention to illimuinate opportunities
for maximizing performance.