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The onset of COVID-19 in 2020 required widespread cancellation of elective surgeries, one of these being cochlear implant for profoundly deafened adults and post-lingually deafened children. Through a questionnaire, to which 23 out of 38 patients responded, this qualitative study elaborated the impact on patients of cancellation of their cochlear implant surgery. This was categorised into four themes, namely immediate reaction to postponement, impact on mental health, general effects on daily life and coping strategies adopted by patients involved. The immediate patient reactions, especially in the elderly, were those of disappointment, hopelessness, anxiety about the uncertainty, and sadness. Very few accepted the situation. On mental health, there was a negative impact by way of isolation, depression, stress, loss of personal independence and of self-control. Again, very few focused on a positive mindset or were unaffected. For most patients, there was a widespread effect on daily life in terms of continuing communication problems, and difficulties with life’s daily chores. Due to continuing deafness, relationships and social life were adversely affected. However, nine of the 23 patients adopted hobbies such as cooking, and fewer came up with philosophical reflections, one of them questioning if the virus really existed. The use of clear facemasks is emphasised and this would not be a very difficult modality to acquire for the hearing impaired in the present pandemic. The study calls for assessing the impact of cancellation of elective surgery due to the pandemic in many other specialisms.

Impact on patients of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and postponement of cochlear implant surgery: a qualitative study.
Abrar R, Bruce I A, O’Driscoll M, et al.
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Madhup K Chaurasia

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

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