Although unilateral cochlear implants generally provide good speech understanding under quiet conditions, patients with unilateral cochlear implants frequently report difficulty in understanding speech in the presence of background noise and difficulty in localizing the source of sound. Since these two listening functions require binaural hearing in normal hearing individuals, there has been a growing interest in bilateral cochlear implants as intervention type for people with severe-to-profound bilateral hearing loss. This study investigated the outcomes of bilateral cochlear implants in all the adult recipients of the Pretoria Cochlear Implant Program. All the subjects with BCIs were asked to choose a significant other person to participate in the study. All the subjects (i.e. subjects with BCIs and their significant other people) were asked to participate in a semi-structured interview and to fill out a researcher-generated questionnaire. The subjects with BCIs also underwent audiometric testing. The majority of the subjects with BCIs were found to demonstrate improved ability to understand speech in the presence of background noise and, to some extent, in their ability to localize sound sources. As both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to determine the outcomes, it could be demonstrated that the majority of adult bilateral cochlear implant recipients gain from the auditory benefits in everyday listening situations. The majority of subjects and their significant other people conferred that their improved auditory skills allow them to be more participative in social, cultural, and other activities, which add to the quality of their lives.
Dissertation (MCommunication Pathology)--University of Pretoria, 2009.