Quality of Life Outcomes in Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients and Their Significant Others
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
This study aimed to investigate whether or not cochlear implants (CIs) change the quality of life (QOL) of postlingually deafened adult CI recipients and their significant others (SO), and to see which areas of daily life (if any) are impacted on most as a result of implantation.
Questionnaires were used to obtain QOL ratings. A total of 94 adult CI recipients (aged 20 to 83 years), and 70 adults on the waiting list (WL) for a CI, (aged from 20 to 86 years) returned the questionnaires. Of the SO groups, 83 questionnaires were returned from the CI-SO, and 58 were returned from the WL-SO. As an alternative perspective of the SO, 23 completed questionnaires were returned from parents of children with CIs. Responses returned showed that cochlear implantation has a significant positive impact on QOL; CI recipients had higher ratings in all areas of QOL and satisfaction, compared to adults on the WL for a CI. The greatest subdomain differences were seen in basic sound perception (37.81), social interaction (36.21), and activity limitations (32.27). QOL ratings were also significantly higher post-implantation than pre-implantation for the subgroup of 7 recipients who received their CI during the course of this study (p < 0.05)
The results of this study also suggested that CIs have a positive effect on the QOL of the SO; the CI-SO group had higher QOL ratings compared to the WL-SO group. Comparisons between the CI recipient and the CI-SO on how the CI had affected the CI recipient’s QOL showed that the SO had similar ratings to the recipient. This suggested that improvements seen for the CI recipients’ lives are also evident in the lives of the SO. When the QOL ratings for each of the SO groups were compared, the CI-SO group results were significantly better than the WL-SO group. The Parent group also reported positive effects of implantation. In addition to reporting significant improvements in their child’s self-reliance, self-confidence and communication, post-implant 69% of parents agreed that they were much happier with their own lives, with 86% feeling more confident since their child was implanted.
Overall, this study shows positive changes in QOL as a result of implantation, and suggests that these changes extend beyond the recipient. This is an important finding as it shows that the effects of implantation are far-reaching. This study also shows that examining non-audiological factors, such as QOL should be included in the assessment of benefit from a CI.