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Neurocognition after cochlear implantation
18 April 2018 (online)
Due to demographic changes the number of people affected by sensorineural and cognitive impairment increases. The association between cognitive and hearing abilities is well known and recent studies indicate that cochlear implantation might have a benefit on neurocognition in the elderly.
60 patients aged between 50 and 84 years (mean: 65. 8 y) suffering from severe bilateral hearing impairment (HI) underwent a computer-based evaluation of short and long term memory, processing speed, attention, working memory and inhibition prior to cochlea implantation. Additionally, speech perception at 65 and 80 dB (Freiburger monosyllabic test) as well as disease related (Nijmegen cochlear implant questionnaire) and general (WHOQOL-OLD) quality of life were assessed.
So far 33 patients after 6 and 20 after 12 months post implantation were analysed. After 6 months speech perception and quality of life significantly increased as well as cognition regarding attention (p < 0.001), delayed recall (p = 0.03), inhibition (p = 0.04) and working memory (2-back p = 0.0041; OSPAN-test p = 0.0077). The improvement of the executive functions was the most remarkable. Results remained mostly stable after 12 months. The OSPAN additionally enhanced after one year (p < 0,001). In contrast long term memory did not improve earlier than after 12 months (p = 0.021). No correlation between cognitive results and duration of deafness, speech perception and quality of life was detected.
Cochlea implantation has a positive impact on speech perception, quality of life as well as on cognitive abilities in the elderly although these effects seem to be independent of each other.