Today (August 27, 2020) a seminal publication has been published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery:Systematic Review and Consensus: Unilateral Cochlear Implants for Severe, Profound, or Moderate Sloping to Profound Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
A global panel of 31 leading ear nose and throat surgeons and audiologists including ACI Alliance members were led by former Board of Directors Chair Dr. Craig Buchman in the process.
Current Board Chair Meredith Holcomb AuD served on
the panel and notes: “Completion of this process is a notable milestone in developing a standard of care for adults with hearing loss based upon consolidated published evidence and the expertise of leading clinicians in the field of cochlear implantation.
The 20 statements are the first step towards establishing best clinical practice in the use of cochlear implants for adults.”
The ultimate goal of the consensus statements is to raise awareness and improve clinical practice to provide the best
possible hearing outcomes and quality of life in adults who are eligible for a cochlear implant. Panel Member Oliver Adunka MD, a Board of Directors officer, states “It is hoped that this work will lead to needed changes in public policies around
the world—including in the US—as well as improved clinical guidance in the healthcare sector. Insurers, primary care physicians, and hearing healthcare professionals will all be alerted as to the critical importance of this new guidance.”
Alliance Executive Director Donna Sorkin provided input to the panel, representing consumers as an advocate and early cochlear implant recipient. She notes “Too often adults come to the CI process late and by chance after not having been advised by
their hearing health professional about their possible candidacy. The Consensus Statements will provide a valuable means for us to expand CI understanding.”
The consensus paper includes 20 statements covering seven categories for adults with
severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound hearing loss in both ears. Each statement was agreed upon by the panel members. Categories include:
1. Level of awareness of cochlear implants 2. Best practice clinical pathway for diagnosis 3.
Best practice guidelines for surgery 4. Clinical effectiveness of cochlear implants 5. Factors associated with post-implantation outcomes 6. The relationship between hearing loss and depression, cognition and dementia 7. Cost implications
of cochlear implants.
ACI Alliance will immediately begin utilizing the Consensus Statements to support our advocacy and outreach at the national and state levels and in educating those involved in healthcare about best practice for adults
with hearing loss. We will share the link to the full paper when we have it.
American Cochlear Implant Alliance (www.acialliance.org) is a not-for-profit membership organization created with the purpose of eliminating barriers to cochlear implantation by sponsoring research, driving heightened
awareness and advocating for improved access to cochlear implants for patients of all ages across the US. ACI Alliance members are clinicians, scientists, educators and others on cochlear implant teams as well as parent and consumer advocates. ACI
Alliance sponsors an annual clinician research conference.