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27-11-2018 | Uitgave 5/2019 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 5/2019

Sensitivity of EQ-5D-3L, HUI2, HUI3, and SF-6D to changes in speech reception and tinnitus associated with cochlear implantation

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 5/2019
A. Q. Summerfield, G. R. Barton, the UK Cochlear Implant Study Group
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-018-2070-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.

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There is concern that some generic preference-based measures (GPMs) of health-related quality of life may be insensitive to interventions that improve hearing. Establishing where sensitivity arises could contribute to the design of improved measures. Accordingly, we compared the sensitivity of four widely used GPMs to a clinically effective treatment—cochlear implantation—which restores material degrees of hearing to adults with little or no functional hearing.


Participants (N = 147) received implants in any of 13 hospitals in the UK. One month before implantation and 9 months after, they completed the HUI2, HUI3, EQ5D3L, and SF-6D questionnaires, together with the EuroQoL visual-analogue scale as a direct measure of health, a performance test of speech reception, and a self-report measure of annoyance due to tinnitus.


Implantation was associated with a large improvement in speech reception and a small improvement in tinnitus. HUI2 and HUI3 were sensitive to the improvement in speech reception through their Sensation and Hearing dimensions; EQ5D3L was sensitive to the improvement in tinnitus through its Anxiety/Depression dimension; SF-6D was sensitive to neither. Participants reported no overall improvement in health. Variation in health was associated with variation in tinnitus, not variation in speech reception.


None of the four GPMs was sensitive to the improvements in both speech reception and tinnitus that were associated with cochlear implantation. To capture fully the benefits of interventions for auditory disorders, developments of current GPMs would need to be sensitive to both the health-related and non-health-related aspects of auditory dysfunction.

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