Objective: Determine the change in general health-related quality of life (HRQOL) after cochlear implantation and association with speech recognition.
Study design: Meta-analysis.
Methods: Search was performed following the PRISMA statement using PubMed, Medline, Scopus, and CINAHL. Studies on adult cochlear implant (CI) patients measuring HRQOL before and after cochlear implantation were included. Standardized mean difference (SMD) for each measure and pooled effects were determined. A meta-analysis of correlations was also performed between all non-disease-specific patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and speech recognition after cochlear implantation.
Results: Twenty-two articles met criteria for meta-analysis of HRQOL improvement, but 15 (65%) were excluded due to incomplete statistical reporting. From the seven articles with 274 CI patients that met inclusion criteria, pooled analyses showed a medium positive effect of cochlear implantation on HRQOL (SMD = 0.79). Subset analysis of the HUI-3 measure showed a large effect (SMD = 0.84). Nine articles with 550 CI patients met inclusion criteria for meta-analysis of correlations between non-disease specific PROMs and speech recognition after cochlear implantation. Pooled analysis showed a low correlation between non-disease-specific PROMs and word recognition in quiet (r = 0.35), sentence recognition in quiet (r = 0.40), and sentence recognition in noise (r = 0.32).
Conclusion: Although regularly used, HRQOL measures are not intended to measure nor do they accurately reflect the complex difficulties facing CI patients. Only a medium positive effect of cochlear implantation on HRQOL was observed along with a low correlation between non-disease-specific PROMs and speech recognition. The use of such instruments in this population may underestimate the benefit of cochlear implantation.