Among the 35 million people in the United States aged 65 and older, between 250,000 and 400,000 have severe to profound hearing loss. Psychological disturbances, social and emotional handicaps, and significant reductions in mental and physical functioning are known to be associated with advanced levels of hearing loss in elderly people, according to background information in the article. A question of growing importance is whether cochlear implantation can address these concerns for elderly patients. A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that includes a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver/stimulator, and electrodes. It is implanted and connected to the inner ear to help people with certain types of hearing loss to hear.
Janice Leung, A.B., and colleagues at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md., examined the performance of multichannel cochlear implant recipients in a large database of adult subjects. The researchers analyzed data on 749 adolescents and adults with profound hearing loss who underwent implantation at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and in two clinical trials at the Cochlear Corporation, Englewood, Colo., and Advanced Bionics, Sylmar, Calif. The authors used statistical modeling techniques to identify factors that predict outcomes after cochlear implantation. They examined the difference between baseline performance on monosyllabic word recognition, and performance within the first year of implantation.
The authors found that "age at implantation carried relatively little predictive value for postoperative performance in subjects 65 years and older," and that postoperative wor
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