The purpose of this report is to provide information that contributes to understanding the effects that cochlear implants (CI(s)) have on the quality of life of severely hearing impaired adults in New Zealand. For those adults who have become deaf and identify themselves as being part of the hearing community, it is unlikely they (or their family members) will become proficient users of sign language and integrate into the Deaf Community.
Rather, they wish to integrate into the hearing community through the restoration of their hearing, for which CIs are a viable hearing solution. For them, severe to profound hearing loss is debilitating, encompassing feelings of being excluded to social isolation, reduced work opportunities, stresses within family relations, and an increased prevalence of depression and mental health issues. The findings of this report are based on a survey of 111 individuals about their quality of life pre and post CI, and face-to-face interviews with 10 individuals about their experiences.
Many of the respondents reported that deafness had a severe negative impact on their lives due to the communication difficulties they faced. These ranged from lost career opportunities, the onset of mental health issues and the breakdown in family relations. Upon having their hearing restored through a CI, the respondents stated that their quality of life had improved dramatically, reporting improvements in their physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing, family relations, career opportunities and self-confidence.
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