The tolerance of ambiguity in late cochlear-implanted pre-lingually deaf juveniles

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To examine the ambiguity tolerance, i.e. the ability to perceive new, contradictory and complex situations as positive challenges, of pre-lingually deafened adolescents who received a cochlear implant after their eighth birthday and to identify those dimensions of ambiguity tolerance which correlate significantly with specific variables of their oral communication.

Design and setting

Clinical survey at an academic tertiary referral center.

Participants and main outcome measures

A questionnaire concerning communication and subjectively perceived changes compared to the pre-cochlear implant situation was completed by 13 pre-lingually deafened patients aged between 13 and 23 years, who received their cochlear implants between the ages of 8 and 17 years. The results were correlated with the ‘Inventory for Measuring Ambiguity Tolerance’.


The patients showed a lower ambiguity tolerance with a total score of 134.5 than the normative group with a score of 143.1. There was a positive correlation between the total score for ambiguity tolerance and the frequency of ‘use of oral speech’, as well as between the subscale ‘ambiguity tolerance towards apparently insoluble problems’ and all five areas of oral communication that were investigated. Comparison of two variables of oral communication, which shows a significant difference pre- and postoperatively, yields a positive correlation with the subscale ‘ambiguity tolerance towards the parental image’.


Pre-lingually deafened juveniles with cochlear implant who increasingly use oral communication seem to regard the limits of a cochlear implant as an interesting challenge rather than an insoluble problem.

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