Do people with cognitive impairment benefit from cochlear implants? A scoping review

Piers Dawes, Hannah Cross, Rebecca Millman, Iracema Leroi, Christiane Völter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose To identify and evaluate the evidence for the benefits of cochlear implants for people with cognitive impairment or dementia in terms of speech recognition, quality of life, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, cognition, function in daily life, mental well-being, and caregiver burden.
Methods Ten electronic databases were searched systematically from inception to December 2023 for studies reporting on outcomes for cochlear implants that included adults identified with cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, or dementia. Results Thirteen studies were included in this review with a combined total of 222 cochlear implant patients with cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment. Two studies were non-randomised controlled design, the remainder were single group studies, case series or single case studies. Evidence suggested that people with cognitive impairment benefit in terms of improved speech recognition from cochlear implants, although they may benefit less than those with healthy cognition and the degree of benefit depends on the level of cognitive impairment. There was no evidence for increased adverse events among those with cognitive impairment. There was limited or no evidence for any other outcome.
Conclusion People with cognitive impairment or dementia do benefit from cochlear implants. To inform policy and clinical practice, further data are needed about the broader benefits of cochlear implants for people with cognitive impairment or dementia, and referral, eligibility, and cochlear implant support needs for people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.

Keywords

  • Cochlear implant
  • dementia
  • mild cognitive impairment

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