J Korean Med Assoc.  2011 Sep;54(9):925-934. 10.5124/jkma.2011.54.9.925.

Cochlear implantation in the elderly

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. junlee@snu.ac.kr


Auditory rehabilitation is fast gaining importance in the elderly because hearing loss in the elderly is common and the population of the elderly is increasing due to prolonged life expectancy. Hearing aids have been proven to be effective for mild to moderate hearing loss but, for the patients with severe to profound hearing loss, cochlear implantation is the most suitable among the auditory rehabilitation options. It has been recently accepted that cochlear implantation improves auditory performance and quality of life, and is well tolerated in the elderly aged 60 and older at the time of implantation even though the elderly have poorer auditory performance as compared to a younger control group. Medical records of 43 postlingually deafened patients who were 60 years and older at the time of implantation were retrospectively analyzed from April 1992 to June 2010. They had an average age of 67 years at the time of cochlear implantation and a mean duration of deafness of 85.2 months. Seventy-nine percent of the patients were deaf for less than 10 years. The most common postoperative complication was dizziness, which was successfully treated conservatively. Speech performance improved from the time of postoperative 3 months compared to the preoperative result and showed no difference as compared to the younger control group. Therefore, based on the literature and our results, it is recommended that cochlear implantation be considered in the elderly with severe to profound hearing loss.


Cochlear implantation; Aged; Quality of life

MeSH Terms

Cochlear Implantation
Cochlear Implants
Hearing Aids
Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss, Sensorineural
Life Expectancy
Medical Records
Postoperative Complications
Quality of Life
Retrospective Studies


  • Figure 1 Duration of deaf of the elderly and control groups.

  • Figure 2 Comorbidities of the elderly and control groups. DM, diabetes mellitus; HTN, hypertension; ESRD, end-stage renal disease; CVA, cerebrovascular accident.

  • Figure 3 Postoperative complication.

  • Figure 4 Postoperative (postop) Audiologic Korean version of Central Institute for the Deaf (K-CID[A]) and depression score of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) at postop 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.


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