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The Listening Network and Cochlear Implant Benefits in Hearing-Impaired Adults

  • James, Chris J.1
  • Graham, Petra L.2
  • Betances Reinoso, Frank A.3
  • Breuning, Silvia N.4
  • Durko, Marcin5
  • Huarte Irujo, Alicia6
  • Royo López, Juan7
  • Müller, Lida8
  • Perenyi, Adam9
  • Jaramillo Saffon, Rafael10
  • Salinas Garcia, Sandra11
  • Schüssler, Mark12
  • Schwarz Langer, Margarita J.13
  • Skarzynski, Piotr H.14
  • Mecklenburg, Dianne J.15
  • 1 Cochlear France SAS, Toulouse , (France)
  • 2 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW , (Australia)
  • 3 Servicio de Otorrinolaringología, Hospital Universitario Donostia, Madrid , (Spain)
  • 4 Centro de Investigaciones Otoaudiológicas, Buenos Aires , (Argentina)
  • 5 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Oncology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz , (Poland)
  • 6 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona , (Spain)
  • 7 Servicio de Otorrinolaringología, Hospital Clínico Universitario Lozano Blesa, Zaragoza , (Spain)
  • 8 Tygerberg Hospital—Stellenbosch University Cochlear Implant Unit, Tygerberg , (South Africa)
  • 9 Department of Otolaryngology and Head Neck Surgery, Albert Szent Györgyi Medical Center, University of Szeged, Szeged , (Hungary)
  • 10 Consultorio Jaramillo, Manizales
  • 11 Servicio de Otorrinolaringología y Patología Cérvico-Facial, Fundación Jiménez Díaz University Hospital, Madrid , (Spain)
  • 12 Deutsches HörZentrum Hannover der HNO-Klinik, Medizische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover , (Germany)
  • 13 Clinica Orlant, Medellin , (Colombia)
  • 14 Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Warsaw , (Poland)
  • 15 Cavale International, Basel , (Switzerland)
Published Article
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Feb 25, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2021.589296
PMCID: PMC7947658
PubMed Central


Older adults with mild or no hearing loss make more errors and expend more effort listening to speech. Cochlear implants (CI) restore hearing to deaf patients but with limited fidelity. We hypothesized that patient-reported hearing and health-related quality of life in CI patients may similarly vary according to age. Speech Spatial Qualities (SSQ) of hearing scale and Health Utilities Index Mark III (HUI) questionnaires were administered to 543 unilaterally implanted adults across Europe, South Africa, and South America. Data were acquired before surgery and at 1, 2, and 3 years post-surgery. Data were analyzed using linear mixed models with visit, age group (18–34, 35–44, 45–54, 55–64, and 65+), and side of implant as main factors and adjusted for other covariates. Tinnitus and dizziness prevalence did not vary with age, but older groups had more preoperative hearing. Preoperatively and postoperatively, SSQ scores were significantly higher (Δ0.75–0.82) for those aged <45 compared with those 55+. However, gains in SSQ scores were equivalent across age groups, although postoperative SSQ scores were higher in right-ear implanted subjects. All age groups benefited equally in terms of HUI gain (0.18), with no decrease in scores with age. Overall, younger adults appeared to cope better with a degraded hearing before and after CI, leading to better subjective hearing performance.

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