[Beneficial effect of cochlear implants in the elderly].
ABSTRACT To evaluate the benefit of cochlear implantation in older adults aged 60 Years and over.
Fifty-six profoundly or totally hearing-impaired patients, aged 60 Years and over, were studied retrospectively. At the end of the preoperative evaluation, 28 patients received a cochlear implant. The mean age was 66 Years and the median follow-up was 22.5 Months. Speech perception scores before and after implantation were analyzed in order to evaluate the benefit of cochlear implantation. The speech perception score before implantation was compared to that of the non-implanted patients.
There was a significant improvement of the dissyllabic words and sentences scores after implantation. The patients who are over 70 Years performed as well as those who are younger (between 60 and 70 Years). One patient developed a postoperative vertigo due a perilymphatic fistula. There was no flap-related problems. In the non-implanted group (mean age: 68 Years), 18 patients declined the cochlear device because they thought the subjective benefit of their hearing aid was sufficient and 5 patients declined because of surgical risk. The mean age, the cause and the duration of the deafness, and the speech perception scores were similar between implanted and non-implanted patients.
This study demonstrates the beneficial effect of cochlear implantation in the elderly. These results suggest that a similar benefit could have been obtained in the patients who declined surgery. An early implantation could reduce the duration of the deafness and preserve binaural sound perception allowing increased performance in older people.