Objective: To assess the effect of the use of cochlear implants (CI) on the
health status of postlingually deaf adults.
comprised 45 postlingually deaf adult multichannel CI users and 46
deaf candidates on the waiting list for a CI. The latter group acted
as control subjects to corroborate the validity of retrospective completion
of the questionnaires by the CI recipients. Three HRQOL instruments
were used: a) a specially developed CI questionnaire (NCIQ); b) a
generic HRQOL questionnaire (SF-36); and c) a health-state
classification system (HUI-2) suited to estimate single preference
Results: Retrospectively estimated pre-implant scores in the
CI user group corresponded very well with the scores in the control
group. Postimplant scores in the CI users were substantially higher
in all six domains (p < .001) of the NCIQ than the scores in the
control group. Effects due to a CI were also observed with the SF-36 in
five of the seven domains (p < .01). Statistically significant
differences between the two groups (p = .001) were observed in two
of the six domains of the HUI-2.
Conclusions: All three
questionnaires detected improvements in HRQOL due to CI use. To make
a detailed assessment of the effect of a CI on functional outcomes
and well-being, a special purpose HRQOL instrument is far more
adequate than a general HRQOL instrument. This study also showed that
a CI affects several other health domains besides auditory
performance. The effect of CI use on general functioning and well-being proved to be considerable.