Learning Objectives: To analyse complications and outcome of cochlear implant (CI) treatment in seniors receiving CIs during a 10-year period.
Introduction: The elderly population in Sweden is growing, particularly in those over 80 years of age (Statistics Sweden Demographic reports, 2009). This has led to an increasing incidence of age-related hearing loss and it is expected that this group will represent an important cohort to treat with cochlear implants (CIs).
Methods: A total of 28 patients, 79 years or older (mean age 81.6 years), were evaluated and compared with a younger group of 76 patients, 20–60 years old (mean age 48.9 years). A retrospective study of the patients’ records was performed. Data on per- and post-operative complications, pre- and post-operative speech perception, estimated cognitive skills, and social situation was extracted. A subjective score was assessed and correlated with post-operative performance.
Results: No severe per- or post-operative surgical complications were noted. Speech perception improved significantly after surgery (P < 0.001). The younger age group showed better results post-operatively for monosyllabic words (P < 0.01) compared with the older group with no difference seen for bi-syllabic words. In both the groups, there were no significant differences between patients living with or without social support.
Conclusion: CI surgery for patients 79 years or older was well tolerated. Patients benefited greatly from the device with improved hearing. CI should not be denied older individuals who are otherwise in good health. Non-use in the elderly was associated with post-operative vertigo and tinnitus, severe disease and limited social support.