Advertisement
Feature Article

Severe hearing loss in adults: is cochlear implantation an option?

Melville da Cruz

Figures

Abstract

Severe hearing loss can have a major impact on employment and quality of life. The surgical implantation of an electronic prosthesis into the inner ear, commonly known as cochlear implantation, is now the intervention of choice for adults with severe-to-profound levels of hearing loss. GPs play an important role in identifying potential candidates for cochlear implantation as well as in the early recognition of infections associated with the implant.

Key Points

  • Hearing loss is very common in the Australian adult community. When the loss is severe, it can have a major impact on employment and quality of life.
  • The surgical implantation of an electronic prosthesis into the inner ear – cochlear implantation – is the intervention of choice for severe-to-profound levels of hearing loss.
  • The fundamental indication for cochlear implantation is bilateral severe-to-profound hearing loss for which well-adjusted hearing aids have given little or no benefit.
  • Well-selected candidates with reasonable expectations can achieve highly satisfying outcomes from cochlear implantation, including benefits to auditory communication within their work and social environments.
  • GPs have an important role in recognising potential candidates for cochlear implantation and facilitating their preliminary investigations, as well as in the early recognition and treatment of implant infections.

Figures