The congress was organized by Associação Portuguesa de Audiologistas (AptA). The meeting gathered about 100 Portuguese specialists belonging to the Association. The two-day meeting was divided into thematic panels: rehabilitation of balance disorders, audiologic rehabilitation – the specificity of working with children, audiologic rehabilitation – the specificity of working with the geriatric population.
In the panel devoted to the rehabilitation of the elderly, dr Malgorzata Zgoda presented the paper ‘Hearing rehabilitation: geriatric specificities. Cochlear implants in elderly patients – World Hearing Centre experience’ (authors: Zgoda M., Lorens A., Rostkowska J., Skarżyński H.) at the invitation of the organizers.
A significant group of people over 70 (50 to 60 percent) has a hearing loss. In this group, from 0,6 to 1,1 percent, has a significant or profound degree of hearing loss, which cannot be effectively managed with hearing aids. However, the use of cochlear implants can bring benefits for those patients. The number of seniors using cochlear implants increases every year. This involves the necessity of conducting research on a larger-scale than before, and of the use of the same tools in study, which will enable the comparison of results. All these activities are aimed at increasing the level of care of elderly, with particular emphasis on the needs of those patients.
The presented results of two studies conducted at the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing of the World Hearing Center met these demands. The first study concerned the analysis of 2181 questionnaires of ‘The Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit’ (APHAB) in two adult groups of cochlear implant users. Patients up to the age of 65 were included in the first group, and the second group included those aged over. The aim of the study was to compare the results of the younger group with the results of older one before implantation and during up to 7 years of using the device. The conclusions of the study indicate the possibility of improving the auditory functions of the elderly. The effectiveness of implants is independent of the age of the person undergoing surgery.
The second presented study was the analysis of the impact of the cochlear implant on the occurrence of depression symptoms in people aged over 65 years. The Geriatric Depression Rating Scale – GDS 15 was used as a research tool, as it is done in research all over the world. The study group consisted of 40 post-lingual deaf adults who were 65 to 78 years old at the time of the cochlear implantation. The study was performed before the surgery and during the 7 to 30 months period after the implantation. In the control group there were 41 adults with normal hearing, aged from 66 to 77 years. As the study concluded, cochlear implantation in patients over 65 years helps to reduce the symptoms of depression.
The results obtained at the Institute corresponded with the results presented by the other participants of the session. Among the invited lecturers were: Mark Laureyns from Belgium, Cristina Murphy from Great Britain and Susana Sousa from Portugal.