Impact of face masks in public spaces during COVID-19 pandemic on daily life communication of cochlear implant users

Nienke C. Homans*, Jantien L. Vroegop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective/Hypothesis: Investigate potential problems in the daily life communication of cochlear implant (CI) patients due to the widespread use of face masks in public places during the COVID-19 pandemic. Study design: Prospective survey study. Methods: This study used an online questionnaire about the effects of face masks on daily life communication of adult CI users. The questionnaire consists of three parts: (a) A face mask questionnaire, (b) loneliness question (c) three subdomains of the Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire to assess quality of life. The questionnaires were send out on October 20, 2020. Four hundred and seven adult CI users were invited to participate in the study. The survey inclusion was closed on November 5, 2020. The study setting was the Rotterdam Cochlear Implant Center, Erasmus MC, a tertiary referral center in The Netherlands. The loneliness question and Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire were analyzed for possible differences between the current situation with masks and the situation before, when masks were not commonly used. Results: Two hundred and twenty one adult CI users (54% female, mean age 62 years) participated in the study. The face mask questionnaire showed that face masks cause considerable problems in daily life communication of 80% of the participants. Also, CI users tend to feel more lonely and all used subdomains of the Nijmegen Cochlear Implant Questionnaire worsened due to the use of face masks. Conclusion: The widespread use of face masks greatly complicates the daily life communication of CI users and reduces quality of life. Level of Evidence: 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-539
Number of pages9
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge all participants of the research project. They also thank Anouk Heine for her help in putting the survey online.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Triological Society.

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