Analysis of a Cochlear Implant Database: Changes in Tinnitus Prevalence and Distress After Cochlear Implantation

Kelly K. S. Assouly, Adriana L. Smit, Robert H. Eikelboom, Cathy Sucher, Marcus Atlas, Robert J. Stokroos, Inge Stegeman

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The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and distress of tinnitus pre- and post-cochlear implantation in patients with bilateral severe to profound hearing loss. In this retrospective study, we included patients from a cochlear implant clinic in Perth, Western Australia. Pre- and post-cochlear implantation data from 300 implant recipients were collected on self-reported presence of tinnitus, tinnitus distress using the Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire (TRQ), hearing-related quality of life using the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), and consonant-nucleus vowel-consonant (CNC) word recognition test scores. Retrospectively, patients were grouped into those with or without tinnitus, and the grade of tinnitus distress. The potential factors associated with post-implantation changes in the presence of tinnitus and its distress were evaluated. Tinnitus prevalence was 55.8% pre-operatively and 44.3% post-implantation with a median TRQ score respectively of 12.0 (IQR: 1.0-28.0) and 3.5 (IQR: 0.0-16.2) points. Among the 96 patients experiencing tinnitus pre-implantation, 14.6% patients experienced moderate to catastrophic tinnitus distress pre-implantation compared to 6.3% post-implantation. To conclude, the pre- and post-implantation median TRQ score for the cohort population showed that tinnitus was a "slight" handicap. Tinnitus prevalence and its associated tinnitus distress decreased post-implantation. Patients with tinnitus post-implantation were significantly younger and had less severe pre-implantation hearing loss in the non-implanted ear than patients without tinnitus. Further research is needed to understand the factors influencing changes in tinnitus.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • adults
  • cochlear implant
  • prevalence
  • quality of life
  • tinnitus

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