The JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery journal has just published a review of 42 studies on the effectiveness of Cochlear Implants in adults. The review compared hearing, speech and quality of life in eligible adults before and after they received a cochlear implant. It also compared having one versus two functioning implants.

The review confirms the effect of a single cochlear implant is that people’s speech and quality of life improved after implantation.

“Cochlear implantation is just a hugely beneficial procedure for the people who need it. It’s almost like magic,” said Dr. Pamela Roehm, an otolaryngologist from the NYU Langone Medical Center who wasn’t involved in the new study.

“Their hearing isn’t completely normal, but for speech (and) understanding, it’s so good,” she told Reuters Health.

The review also found participants were better at communicating and localizing sound when they had a cochlear implant in each ear.

The research is now quite clear that two ears are better than one. How much better is more difficult to quantify. However many countries now have concluded that for children, particularly in those crucial auditory development years of 0-7, having two ears is vital.

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