Access to cochlear implantation varies greatly around the world. It is affected by factors that are specific to each country's health care system, by awareness, and by societal attitudes regarding deafness.
Cochlear implant clinicians and researchers from six countries explored and discussed these variations and their likely causes: Robert Briggs from Australia; Wolfe-Dieter Baumgartner from Austria; Thomas Lenarz from Germany; Eva Koltharp from Sweden; Christopher Raine from the United Kingdom, and Craig Buchman, Donna Sorkin, and Christine Yoshinago from the United States.
Utilization rates are quite different for the pediatric and adult demographics in all six countries. Pediatric utilization ranges in the six countries (all in the developed world) ranged from a low of 50% in the United States to a high of 97% in Australia. Adult utilization is less than 10% everywhere in the world.
Pediatric access to care was excellent for children with the exception of Germany and the United States where there is an inadequate referral system. Adult utilization was low everywhere because of the lack of screening for adults and the fact that primary care physicians and even audiologists are unfamiliar with CI candidacy criteria and outcomes, and hence typically do not make patient referrals.
The author presents the various difficulties in the formation of a bank of tympano-ossicular homografts. The difficulties are in the laws, the costs, and the technique. The question is : Are the difficulties greater than the results? After four years, the results obtained at the Hôtel Dieu in Quebec City seem to prove that if the indications remain restricted, we should keep on the efforts to form private banks. The global results for 90 cases are 77 per cent of tympanic integrity and 58 per cent with less than 20 dB of air-bone gap.
To evaluate initial candidacy for bilateral simultaneous cochlear implantation in children.
Prospective case series.
Tertiary academic pediatric hospital.
As part of our research protocol all children eligible for cochlear implantation were assessed for suitability to receive a simultaneous bilateral implant. Over a 12-month period (January to December 2007) 78 children received a total of 95 cochlear implants. Children with sequential second implants (24), revision cases (4), and out of province recipients (4) were excluded. The remaining 46 patients were assessed for bilateral simultaneous implantation.
Team/parental decision to proceed with bilateral simultaneous implantation.
17 children (37%) received simultaneous bilateral implants. 29 children (63%) were not considered suitable for simultaneous bilateral implantation. Reasons included developmental delay (10), residual borderline hearing in the second ear (9), parental/patient refusal (6), abnormally poor speech development for age (2), and abnormal cochlear anatomy precluding implantation (2). None were considered unsuitable for the more prolonged operative procedure on medical grounds.
Although bilateral implantation is thought to produce the optimal auditory outcome, not all patients are suitable, nor do all parents wish to proceed, when assessed for simultaneous implantation. Some of these patients are likely to be candidates for sequential bilateral implantation in due course.
Cochlear implant electrode position has an impact on the rate of tinnitus suppression and generation.
Suppression of pre-operative tinnitus or a generation of a new tinnitus in cochlear implantees is a known effect of cochlear implantation. The aim of the current study was to evaluate different cochlear implant electrode positions and their relationship with tinnitus suppression and tinnitus generation.
This study retrospectively evaluated four groups of CI recipients with radiologically evaluated electrode positions in relation to their subjective tinnitus quality, as evaluated by an analogue loudness scale (ALS) and a questionnaire. Group 1 consisted of 19 patients with a scalar change of the electrode position. Group 2 consisted of 18 patients with a scala tympani position and a perimodiolar electrode. Group 3 consisted of 10 patients with a scala tympani position and a lateral wall electrode. Group 4 consisted of eight patients with a scala vestibuli position.
An overall tinnitus suppression rate of 45.9% and a generation of a new tinnitus or the deterioration of an existing one of 5.6% were observed. A significant difference in tinnitus suppression was found between groups 1 and groups 2, 3, and 4 in tinnitus suppression and tinnitus generation.