Purpose: To determine the 2-year outcome of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in adults who received a cochlear implant (CI) for single-sided deafness (SSD).
Methods: Twenty adults (mean age at implantation: 47 ± 11 years) with SSD (PTA worse ear: 113 dB HL, PTA better ear: 14 dB HL) were administered the Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire (NCIQ), and the Health Utility Index 3 (HUI 3). Questionnaire administration occurred before cochlear implantation and 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after implant activation.
Results: Of the 20 patients, 2 discontinued CI use within the observation period due to poor benefit. The NCIQ total score of the sample increased significantly over time (p = 0.003). The largest increase occurred within the first 3 months of CI use. Also, the HUI 3 multi-attribute utility score increased significantly (p = 0.03). The post-treatment increase of this score (+ 0.11 points) indicated that the gain in HRQoL was clinically relevant. Patients with a duration of deafness > 10 years had in all measures an equal HRQoL improvement than had patients with a duration of deafness < 10 years.
Conclusion: Cochlear implantation led to significant improvement of hearing-specific and generic HRQoL in our patients. The improvement was seen after 3 or 6 months but did not increase further at later intervals. Patients with long-lasting SSD may be at higher risk of discontinuing CI use. However, if they adapt to the CI, they can experience an equal increase of HRQoL as patients with a short duration of SSD.
Keywords: Cochlear implant; Duration of deafness; Health-related quality of life; Single-sided deafness.