Research Finds Cochlear Implants Could Help Fight Depression

Study conducted by JAMA concludes older adults using cochlear implants have lower incidents of depression
New research suggests older adults who receive cochlear implants could enjoy improved speech perception, mood and cognition.

Hearing impairment has been associated with cognitive decline in people over the age of 65, but cochlear implants could help fight some of these effects, a news release reported.

A team of researchers looked at the relationship between cognitive function and hearing restoration with cochlear implants in 94 older patients with profound postlingual hearing loss. The study participants received their implants from 10 tertiary referral centers between the years of 2006 and 2009, and were evaluated before implantation as well as six and 12 months following the procedure.

The study showed the cochlear implantation significantly improved not only speech perception in these patients, but also quality of life and depression scores. Seventy-six percent of the patients had no signs of depression 12 months after implantation, compared to only 59 percent before implantation.
More than 80 percent of the patients who displayed the poorest cognitive scores before the cochlear implantation showed significant improvement one year after the procedure was performed. On the other hand, patients with the best cognitive performance before implantation showed stable results following the implantation or a miniscule decline.

“Our study demonstrates that hearing rehabilitation using cochlear implants in the elderly is associated with improvements in impaired cognitive function. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term influence of hearing restoration on cognitive decline and its effect on public health,” the study concluded.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

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