Objective: To describe the effect of tinnitus distress on the hearing-related quality of life (QoL) outcomes over time in adult cochlear implant (CI) recipients. Design: A retrospective, longitudinal study of adult CI recipients was conducted. Hearing-related QoL and tinnitus distress were assessed using the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB) and the Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire (TRQ) preoperatively and at 6-months, 12-months and >24-month postoperatively. The association between tinnitus distress and hearing-related QoL outcomes over time was investigated. Furthermore, 13 potential predictive factors were identified from the retrospective dataset. Multiple regression analyses were performed to identify variables that influence hearing-related QoL outcomes over time. Study sample: The study sample included 210 adult (≥18 years) CI recipients implanted between 2001 and 2017. Results: Lower tinnitus distress and younger age at implantation were significant predictors of better hearing-related QoL in adult CI recipients. A significant reduction in tinnitus distress up to two years post-implantation was found, as well as greater tinnitus distress correlating with poorer hearing-related QoL outcomes. Conclusion: Tinnitus distress negatively affects the hearing-related QoL outcomes of adult CI recipients. Tinnitus distress and age at implantation were found to be significant predictors of hearing-related QoL when controlling for other predictive factors.