Is There an Age Limit for Cochlear Implantation?

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Abstract

Objectives:

We evaluated the quality of life following cochlear implantation in elderly postlingually deaf adults.

Methods:

Data were studied concerning demographics and audiometric evaluation in postlingually deaf adults at least 60 years of age who underwent cochlear implantation in 3 institutions. The Glasgow Benefit Inventory was used to quantify the quality of life. The patients were divided into 2 groups (those less than 70 years of age and those at least 70 years of age), and the results were also compared to those of younger adult cochlear implant recipients (less than 60 years of age).

Results:

Eighty-one patients were included in this study. The mean age at implantation was 68 years (range, 60 to 82 years). Cochlear implantation significantly improved the patients' audiometric outcomes (pure tone average and speech perception; p < 0.05). The Glasgow Benefit Inventory showed a benefit overall (+36) and on the individual subscales (+49, +20, and +1). The difference in quality of life was not significant between those less than 70 and those at least 70 years of age (p = 0.90). The results were similar to those of younger postlingually deaf implant recipients.

Conclusions:

Elderly cochlear implant users experience an improvement in their quality of life, with outcomes similar to those achieved in younger adults. Particular attention must be paid to the possibility of age-related conditions in the elderly that may increase the risks of surgery.

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