Long-term Benefit of Unilateral Cochlear Implantation on Quality of Life and Speech Perception in Bilaterally Deafened Patients.
Cochlear implantation (CI) is a common treatment modality for unilaterally and bilaterally deafened patients as well as patients with severe to profound hearing loss. The aim of our study is the complex evaluation of the improvement and influence of health related quality of life (HRQoL) and auditory performance in cochlear implant patients during a long-term follow-up.Sixty-one bilaterally, postlingually deafened patients with unilateral CI were included in this prospective study. Assessment tools for auditory performance and HRQoL included the Freiburg Monosyllabic Speech test, Oldenburg Inventory (OI) questionnaire, Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire (NCIQ) and 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36). Data were collected before CI, at 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively.The assessment tools for speech perception yielded a statistically significant improvement in the Freiburg Monosyllabic Speech test scores and of all subdomain scores of the OI during the 6-month follow-up period. The subdomain scores of the NCIQ and the psychological score of the SF-36 also improved significantly during this follow-up period. All results remained stable thereafter during the 12- and 24-month follow-up. There was a statistically significant correlation between subjective speech perception and HRQoL after CI.This is the first prospective study to show results in regard to speech perception and HRQoL and their correlation during a 2-year follow-up after unilateral CI in bilaterally deafened patients. Our results for speech perception and HRQoL showed a significant improvement during the 6-month follow-up that remained stable thereafter during a 24-month follow-up, even after finishing the hearing rehabilitation program.