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Age No Barrier to Cochlear Implant Success

Elderly recipients of cochlear implants experience benefits similar to younger patients

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients aged 65 and older who have profound hearing loss receive similar benefits from cochlear implants as younger patients, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

John K. Niparko, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and colleagues studied data on 749 adults and adolescents (aged 14 to 91) with profound hearing loss, who received a cochlear implant.

The researchers found that patients 65 and older had a postoperative monosyllabic word recognition score that was 4.5% lower than patients under 65 -- a clinically insignificant difference. In those who had been deaf more than 25 years, the elderly recipients actually had higher word scores than younger people, the report indicates.

"A more significant factor affecting outcomes is the ratio of duration of deafness to age at implantation," the authors write.

"Age at implantation carried relatively little predictive value for postoperative performance in subjects 65 years and older," they conclude. "Although a small decrement in mean speech recognition scores was evident, the clinical significance of this difference is questionable when all of the results observed in elderly patients are considered."

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