This study aimed to determine the impact of cochlear implantation on speech understanding in noise, subjective perception of hearing, and tinnitus perception of adult patients with unilateral severe to profound hearing loss and to investigate whether duration of deafness and age at implantation would influence the outcomes. In addition, this article describes the auditory training protocol used for unilaterally deaf patients.
This is a prospective study of subjects undergoing cochlear implantation for unilateral deafness with or without associated tinnitus.
Speech perception in noise was tested using the Bamford-Kowal-Bench speech-in-noise test presented at 65 dB SPL. The Speech, Spatial, and Qualities of Hearing Scale and the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit were used to evaluate the subjective perception of hearing with a cochlear implant and quality of life. Tinnitus disturbance was measured using the Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire. Data were collected before cochlear implantation and 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after implantation.
Twenty-eight postlingual unilaterally deaf adults with or without tinnitus were implanted. There was a significant improvement in speech perception in noise across time in all spatial configurations. There was an overall significant improvement on the subjective perception of hearing and quality of life. Tinnitus disturbance reduced significantly across time. Age at implantation and duration of deafness did not influence the outcomes significantly.
Cochlear implantation provided significant improvement in speech understanding in challenging situations, subjective perception of hearing performance, and quality of life. Cochlear implantation also resulted in reduced tinnitus disturbance. Age at implantation and duration of deafness did not seem to influence the outcomes.