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August 07, 2013

Cochlear implants improve speech and quality of life

Adults with sensorineural hearing loss can improve their hearing and quality of life by using cochlear implants.

Cochlear implants improve speech and quality of life

A review of 42 studies exploring the effects of cochlear implants has revealed that adults with a sensorineural hearing loss experienced a significant improvement in communication-related results and quality of life after receiving a cochlear implant.

Different implants, different benefits

The review also showed that unilateral and bilateral implantations have different benefits.

"Unilateral cochlear implants provide improved hearing and significantly improved quality of life. Improvements in sound localisation are noted for bilateral implantation," said the researchers, led by James M. Gaylor, BA, of Tufts University in Boston.

Among the studies evaluating quality of life, the average improvement after cochlear implantation was 25%, while most of the results indicated at least a trend toward improved quality of life.

Make more informed decisions

The review included 16 studies of unilateral implantation in 3,000 patients, 15 studies of bilateral implantation involving 461 people and 15 studies comparing quality of life before and after cochlear implantation.

"Our hope is that this paper will allow providers, payers and most importantly patients to make more informed decisions about cochlear implantation," stated Gaylor and his colleagues.
However, they also added: "Future studies of longer duration, higher-quality reporting and large databases or registries of patients with long-term follow-up data are needed to yield stronger evidence."



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