Even though the evidence is now clear that cochlear implants (CIs) work, many patients who would benefit from them still do not have them, and challenges and questions remain about when to offer the devices and how to ensure patients are reimbursed for them. A panel of experts gathered at the Triological Society Combined Sections Meeting discussed available options for patients with unilateral and bilateral hearing loss.
Explore this issue:March 2017
Craig Buchman, MD, Lindburg Professor and chair of the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that approximately 40 million people in the U.S., and 350 million around the world, suffer from hearing loss. While 1.4 million people are CI candidates, he added, “We’re only looking at 100,000 cochlear implant recipients in the U.S. Less than 10% of people who are CI candidates are actually getting these devices. That’s sort of a sad story.”
He said the field is past the point of having to prove the merit of these devices. “We’re no longer in the business of proving that the cochlear implant works—our biggest chore going forward is learning how to deliver this to the people who need it.”