An Investigation of Telephone Use Among Cochlear Implant Recipients


The purpose of this study was to examine telephone use among cochlear implant recipients. A questionnaire was constructed and mailed to 803 adults who received a Clarion cochlear implant system manufactured by Advanced Bionics Corporation. Question-naire recipients were implanted at least 12 months prior to receiving the questionnaire (i.e., they were implanted in 1998 or 1999). Approximately 60% (n = 478) responded, of whom 70% (n = 336) were considered "telephone users" (i.e., they answered the telephone and/or initiated calls). Telephone users were significantly younger and had significantly more daily hours of cochlear implant use than nonusers. Not surprisingly, there were differences between groups with respect to method of communication (i.e., more users employed oral communication, while more nonusers employed both oral and manual communication) and ability to understand words without lipreading (i.e., more users were able to understand). Thirty-seven percent of the telephone users were male, and 63% were female. The average age was 51.8 years (SD = 15.5). Ninety-five percent of users initiated calls to family and friends, 65% made appointments by phone, and approximately 50% asked for information about a product or service and conducted business over the phone. Over 95% of users could identify a dial tone, a busy signal, and voices. The average telephone use per week was 5.4 hr. Approximately 85% indicated that they were able to interact with strangers on the telephone within 5 months of receiving the sound processor. Approximately 30% communicated via a cellular phone for personal use. The findings of this survey suggest an increase in cochlear implant users' telephone use relative to a decade earlier. Advances in cochlear implant and telephone technologies are 2 of several factors that may contribute to the changes observed.

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American journal of Audiology