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Association of Demographic and Hearing-Related Factors With Cochlear Implant-Related Quality of Life


JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

IMPORTANCE Only limited evidence is available describing the contribution of patient-related factors to quality of life in adults with cochlear implants.

OBJECTIVE Assess the association between demographic, hearing-related, and cochlear implant–related factors and quality of life by using a new Cochlear Implant Quality of Life (CIQOL) item bank, which was developed to meet rigorous psychometric standards.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Multi center cross-sectiona lstudy of adults 18 to 89 years of age who had at least 1 year of cochlear implant use and who were recruited through a consortium of 20 cochlear implant centers in the United States. Using an online format, questionnaires were sent to the first 500 participants who contacted the research team. Of these participants, 371 (74.2%) completed the questionnaire. Demographic, hearing-related, and cochlear implant–related data were obtained along with responses to each of the 81 items in the CIQOL item bank. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine demographic, hearing-related, and cochlear implant–related factors associated with scores in each of the 6 CIQOL domains (communication, emotional, entertainment, environment, listening effort, and social).

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Association among demographic, hearing-related,and cochlear implant–related factors and CIQOL scores for each of 6 domains.

RESULTS Of the 371 participants who completed the questionnaire, 222 (59.8%) were women, and the mean (SD) age was 59.5 (14.9) years. The CIQOL scores were normally distributed across the 6 domains. Being employed, having higher household income, longer duration of hearing loss prior to cochlear implantation, and having bilateral rather than unilateral cochlear implantation were associated with higher CIQOL scores in 1 or more domains, but the effect size varied widely (β, 0.1-6.9). Better sentence recognition ability (using AzBio to measure speech recognition) was associated with only a small positive effect size for the communication (β, 0.0 [95% CI, 0.0-0.1]), entertainment (β, 0.0 [95% CI, 0.0-0.1]), and environmental (β, 0.0 [95% CI, 0.0-0.0]) domains. Increased age was associated with lower CIQOL in the entertainment domain (β, −0.3 [95% CI, −1.5 to −0.4]). The demographic, hearing-related, and cochlear implant–related factors included in the multivariable regression models accounted for only a small percentage of the variance in CIQOL domain scores (R2, 0.08-0.17).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Several factors were found to predict higher or lower CIQOL scores in specific domains, with speech-recognition ability having only a minimal association. Despite evaluating a large number of demographic, hearing-related, and cochlear implant–related factors, the multivariable models accounted for only a small amount of CIQOL variance. This suggests that patient or other characteristics that contribute to cochlear implant–related quality of life remain largely unknown.

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