Rehabilitation and psychosocial determinants of cochlear implant outcomes in older adults

Liyang Tang, Carol B. Thompson, James H. Clark, Kristin M. Ceh, Jennifer D. Yeagle, Howard W. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: The cochlear implant (CI) has been shown to be associated with better hearing, cognitive abilities, and functional independence. There is variability however in how much benefit each recipient derives from his or her CI. This study’s primary objective is to determine the effects of individual and environmental characteristics on CI outcomes. Design: Seventy-six adults who developed postlingual severe to profound hearing loss and received their first unilateral CI at 65 years and older were eligible for the study. Fifty-five patients were asked to participate and the 33 (60%) with complete data were classified as “group 1.” The remaining patients were placed in “group 2.” Primary outcomes included changes in quality of life and open-set speech perception scores. Independent variables included age, health status, trait emotional intelligence (EI), comfort with technology, and living arrangements. Survey outcomes and audiological measurements were collected prospectively at 12 months after surgery, whereas preoperative data were collected retrospectively. Comparisons between groups 1 and 2 were made. Wilcoxon signed rank test, Spearman correlations, Mann–Whitney tests, Chi-square tests, and linear regressions were performed only on group 1 data. Results: Having a CI was associated with improved quality of life and speech perception. Familiarity with electronic tablets was associated with increased 12-month postoperative AzBio gains when adjusted for preoperative AzBio scores (adjusted p = 0.019), but only marginally significant when a family-wise error correction was applied (p = 0.057). Furthermore, patients who lived with other people scored at least 20 points higher on the AzBio sentences than those who lived alone (adjusted p = 0.046). Finally, consultation with an auditory rehabilitation therapist was associated with higher self-reported quality of life (p = 0.035). Conclusion: This study suggests that in a cohort of older patients cochlear implantation is associated with a meaningful increase in both quality of life and speech perception. Furthermore, it suggests the potential importance of adjunct support and services, including the tailoring of CI rehabilitation sessions depending on the patient’s familiarity with technology and living situation. Investment in rehabilitation and other services is associated with improvements in quality of life and may mitigate clinical, individual and social risk factors for poor communication outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2017


  • Cochlear implant
  • Older adults
  • Quality of life
  • Technology use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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