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Hearing rehabilitation in the elderly is of utmost importance as it is associated with depression and dementia in this age group. Cochlear implantation is indicated for hearing-impaired individuals who do not derive adequate benefit from conventional hearing aids. In this study, the authors’ objective was to assess the usefulness of cochlear implants (CI) in elderly patients. A survey was conducted by distributing questionnaires to elderly CI users aged 65 years and older throughout Japan. Survey responses were received from 35 women and 25 men. This included 29 and 31 individuals in <75 years old and ≥75 years old groups, respectively. The mean length of CI usage was 6.0 years, and the mean CI use was 12.4 hours per day. Of the users, 93.3% were at least ‘somewhat satisfied’ that the CI had met their preoperative expectations. There was no significant difference between age groups regarding their satisfaction compared to preoperative expectations. However, the ≥75 years old group had lower levels of satisfaction with surgery than the <75 years old group. In terms of usage of CI, although most subjects (96.6%) could independently attach and turn on/off the CI, they had varying levels of difficulties such as issues with volume adjustment, switching between programmes and exchanging cables. The main factors resulting in high level of satisfaction of CI users were their ability to understand daily conversation with family members and at reception desks, such as those in banks and shops. This qualitative study showcases that cochlear implants have an important place in satisfactory hearing rehabilitation in elderly patients. However, the complex operations and management of these devices can pose a challenge. It is therefore essential that any cochlear implant centre has a robust rehabilitation programme and adequate long-term support so that patients derive the maximum benefit from their implant.

Factors related to the satisfaction level of elderly hearing-impaired individuals with cochlear implants.
Imagawa N, Hirota E, Morino T, Kojima H.
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Praneta Kulloo

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, UK.

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