Access to cochlear implant candidacy evaluations: who is not making it to the team evaluations?

Int J Audiol. 2009 Feb;48(2):74-9. doi: 10.1080/14992020802475227.


The objective of this study was to investigate trends in the referral process among pediatric cochlear implant candidates. Medical and audiologic charts between 2003 and 2005 were reviewed, and children five years and younger with moderately-severe or worse sensorineural hearing loss were included. Of the 105 audiograms meeting the inclusion criteria, 69% were referred for a cochlear implant, and 52% were considered as definite candidates for an implant by audiologists with expertise in cochlear implant technology. Children referred for an implant, compared to children who were not referred, were more likely to have married parents (91% vs. 70%, p=0.02) and more likely to have private insurance (56% vs. 29%, p=0.02). Multivariable regression results were consistent with the unadjusted findings regarding marital status, but not insurance status. Children with sensorineural hearing loss are inconsistently referred to cochlear implant teams despite similar audiologic findings. To reach the Healthy People 2010 goals, this disparity should be addressed. A further understanding of the population of children not referred is important in diminishing inconsistencies and understanding barriers to care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Audiology / standards*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cochlear Implantation*
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Selection*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors