The indications for cochlear implantation have gradually expanded as advancements in technology have evolved, resulting in improved audiologic outcomes for both adult and children. There remains a significant underutilization of cochlear implant technology in the United States, and recognition of the potential benefits of cochlear implantation for non-traditional indications is critical for encouraging the evolution of candidacy criteria. Adult cochlear implantation candidacy has progressed from patients with bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) to include patients with greater degrees of residual hearing, single-sided deafness and asymmetric hearing, and atypical etiologies of hearing loss (eg, vestibular schwannoma, Ménière's disease, and otosclerosis). Indications for pediatric cochlear implantation have similarly evolved from children with bilateral severe to profound SNHL to implanting children at a younger age, including those with residual hearing, asymmetric hearing loss, inner ear malformations, as well as cochlear nerve deficiency. In this editorial, the literature investigating cochlear implantation for nontraditional indications is reviewed with an aim to use the best available evidence to encourage the evolution of candidacy criteria.
Keywords: cochlear implant candidacy; cochlear implantation; hearing loss; implantable hearing devices; pediatric hearing loss.