With expanding inclusion criteria for cochlear implantation, the number of prelingually deafened persons who are implanted as adults increases. Compared with postlingually deafened adults, this group shows limited improvement in speech recognition. In this study, the changes in health-related quality of life in late-implanted prelingually deafened adults are evaluated and related to speech recognition.
Quality of life was measured before implantation and 1 year after implantation in a group of 28 prelingually deafened adults, who had residual hearing and who used primarily oral communication. Patients completed 3 questionnaires (Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire, Glasgow Benefit Inventory, and Health Utility Index 3). Postoperative scores were compared with preoperative scores. Additionally, phoneme recognition scores were obtained preimplantation and 1 year postimplantation.
Quality of life improved after implantation: scores on the Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire improved significantly in all subdomains (basic speech perception, advanced speech perception, speech production, self-esteem, activity, and social interaction), the total Glasgow Benefit Inventory score improved significantly, and the Health Utility Index 3 showed a significant improvement in the utility score and in the subdomains “hearing” and “emotion.” Additionally, a significant improvement in speech recognition scores was found. No significant correlations were found between gain in quality of life and speech perception scores.
The results suggest that quality of life and speech recognition in prelingually deafened adults significantly improved as a result of cochlear implantation. Lack of correlation between quality of life and speech recognition suggests that in evaluating performance after implantation in prelingually deafened adults, measures of both speech recognition and quality of life should be used.