Cochlear implantation in elderly patients: Surgical and audiological outcome

Lela Migirov*, Riki Taitelbaum-Swead, Michael Drendel, Minka Hildesheimer, Jona Kronenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Deteriorated hearing affects speech perception and speech production, and negatively impacts on social interaction, employment, income, and, as a result, the quality of life of the elderly population. Lack of satisfaction with conventional hearing aids motivated part of them to turn to more sophisticated cochlear device systems. Objective: To investigate the outcome of cochlear implantation (CI) among elderly cochlear implant recipients. Methods: The medical records of 20 postlingual patients aged >65 years at the time of CI, who were followed up for a period of at least 12 months were retrospectively reviewed for age at the time of CI, the cause and duration of deafness, hearing aid experience, comorbidities, complications of the procedure and audiological outcome. Pre- and post-CI speech perception performance was tested using a battery of speech perception tests. Results: In addition to bilateral severe to profound hearing loss, all 20 patients had some comorbidities and 13 had more than 2 pathologies that are associated with hearing impairment. Major complications such as facial nerve paralysis and foreign body reaction were rare (n = 2). Minor complications such as disequilibrium (n = 5) and wound problems (n = 5) resolved spontaneously or were successfully managed conservatively. There were no complications associated with general anesthesia used during the CI procedure. Statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test showed significant differences (p < 0.01) between the pre- and postspeech perception categories. No significant correlations were found between the background data: unaided thresholds, aided thresholds, duration of profound deafness, duration of hearing aid use prior to CI, speech perception before CI and speech perception performance after CI using Pearson correlations. Conclusion: CI was found to be associated with significant hearing benefit in elderly candidates. However, every CI candidate must be informed about possible complications associated with the procedure, especially related to the vestibular system. At the same time, it should be made clear that life-threatening conditions are rare and that the surgery is usually safe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Cochlear implantation
  • Elderly patients


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