Hearing implant charity The Ear Foundation is calling for an expansion in the use of cochlear implants for deaf adults.
In a report released at a recent conference in London last week, the case for more cochlear implantation for adults is laid out citing significant benefits for patients and for the economy.
The report, co-authored by former RNID Director Brian Lamb OBE and Ear Foundation Chief Executive Sue Archibold PHD, calls for a review of the NHS rules surrounding implantation and the use of ‘real-world’ hearing assessments to gauge suitability. Current tests are often carried out in perfect listening conditions giving a misleadingly positive picture of a patients hearing ability.
Other conditions, such as dementia, which are linked to hearing loss also need to be taken into account when making a cost-benefit case for cochlear implantation as well as better education of GPs about its benefits.
Increasingly widespread as a treatment for deafness among profoundly deaf children, cochlear implants are not, according to the report, used enough in adults, and the number of adults who can benefit is much larger than previously thought. Advances in operating techniques have also removed some of the additional risk associated with operating on elderly patients.
By Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor
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