Cochlear implantation in the world's largest medical device market: utilization and awareness of cochlear implants in the United States

Cochlear Implants Int. 2013 Mar;14 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S4-12. doi: 10.1179/1467010013z.00000000076.


Provision of cochlear implants (CIs) for those within the criteria for implantation remains lower in the United States than in some other developed nations. When adults and children are grouped together, the rate of utilization/provision remains low at around 6%. For children, the provision rate is about 50% of those who could benefit from an implant, compared with figures of about 90% for the Flanders part of Belgium, the United Kingdom and other European countries. The probable reasons for this underprovision include: low awareness of the benefits of CIs among the population; low awareness among health-care professionals; the lack of specific referral pathways; some political issues relating to the Deaf Community; and financial issues related to health provision. Such financial issues result in situations which either fail to provide for access to implants or provide too low a level of the necessary funding, especially for low-income individuals covered by public health-care programs such as Medicaid. These issues might be mitigated by adoption and publication of standards for best clinical practices for CI provision, availability of current cost-effectiveness data, and the existence of an organization dedicated to cochlear implantation. Such an organization, the American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACI Alliance), was recently organized and is described in the paper by Niparko et al. in this Supplement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cochlear Implantation / economics
  • Cochlear Implantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cochlear Implants / economics
  • Cochlear Implants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology
  • Hearing Loss / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / economics
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration
  • United States