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By: Oticon Medical
Date: 17 December 2019

Alberto Rossi from Italy lost his hearing at the age of 21 and lived without hearing devices for almost 60 years. Aged 80 he made the bold decision to receive a cochlear implant! This has opened up a world of hearing and given him a new lease of life.

At the time Alberto lost his hearing, he had used neither the phone nor the TV. “Now everything has changed” he says. Today with his Oticon Medical cochlear implant Alberto makes and answers calls and enjoys watching TV. He has also been able to hear his wife’s voice for the first time, as well as the cheerful squawks of his pet parrot Papi. He now lives a more independent life and has no trouble going to the bank or doctor. “I am really coping well,” he says.

Alberto lost his hearing after taking an ototoxic drug for pulmonary tuberculosis. For 60 years he relied solely on lip-reading to overcome his total loss of hearing. Thanks to his cochlear implant system, implanted by Dr. Maurizio Negri, Carpi Hospital, followed by careful speech therapy and monitoring by Ms Paola Benincasa, Carpi Hospital, Alberto has achieved results he could only dream of. 


Now I feel part of what’s going on. Before I felt out of it


Alberto Rossi’s story confirms a number of studies that demonstrate how cochlear implants are beneficial even after a long period of hearing loss without the use of hearing devices and for people of all ages. New research shows that a long period without hearing devices, termed auditory deprivation, does not preclude people from benefiting from cochlear implantation 1. Furthermore, an analysis of over 150 patients who received their first cochlear implant aged 80 or above in the US, Europe, and Australia showed that their ability to understand speech improved, as did their quality of life 2-4

Additionally, a recent study compared the outcomes of 248 people who received their cochlear implant aged between 18 and 74 with 130 people who received their cochlear implant aged 75 or above. The results showed that age was not related to how well people could hear words and sentences with their cochlear implants 5

As the research proves and as Alberto’s story confirms, it is never too late to consider cochlear implantation.

Watch Alberto talk about being able to hear again.  

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1. Beyea JA, McMullen KP, Harris MS, Houston DM, Martin JM, Bolster VA, Adunka OF, Moberly AC. Cochlear implants in adults: Effects of age and duration of deafness on speech recognition. Otology & Neurotology. 2016;37(9):1238-45.
2. Carlson ML, Breen JT, Gifford RH, Driscoll CL, Neff BA, Beatty CW, Peterson AM, Olund AP. Cochlear implantation in the octogenarian and nonagenarian. Otology & Neurotology. 2010;31(8):1343-9.
3. Knopke S, Gräbel S, Förster‐Ruhrmann U, Mazurek B, Szczepek AJ, Olze H. Impact of cochlear implantation on quality of life and mental comorbidity in patients aged 80 years. The Laryngoscope. 2016;126(12):2811-6.
4. Wong DJ, Moran M, O’Leary SJ. Outcomes after cochlear implantation in the very elderly. Otology & Neurotology. 2016;37(1):46-51.
5. Sharma RK, Chen SY, Grisel J, Golub JS. Assessing cochlear implant performance in older adults using a single, universal outcome measure created with imputation in HERMES. Otology & Neurotology. 2018;39(8):987-94.