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Cochlear Implants May Help More than Seniors' Hearing

Seniors with severe hearing loss who received a cochlear implant to restore hearing also had improved mood and thinking skills, a new study finds. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that provides sound to a person who is severely hard of hearing or deaf. It requires surgery to place in the inner ear. The study included 94 people ages 65 to 85. Researchers tested them before they got the implant, as well as 6 and 12 months later. After one year, the people could better understand words in both loud and quiet settings. Six month after getting the implants, average scores on test of thinking abilities improved. After one year, more than 80% of people with the lowest scores before the implant had better scores. The implants also seemed to improve depression in people. Before the implant, 59% showed no signs of depression. A year later, 76% were free of depression.

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