Leveraging real-world data to improve cochlear implant outcomes: Is the data available?

Cochlear Implants Int. 2023 Jul;24(4):178-189. doi: 10.1080/14670100.2023.2198792. Epub 2023 Apr 23.


Objectives: A small but persistent proportion of individuals do not gain the expected benefit from cochlear implants(CI). A step-change in the understanding of factors affecting outcomes could come through data science. This study evaluates clinical data capture to assess the quality and utility of CI user's health records for data science, by assessing the recording of otitis media. Otitis media was selected as it is associated with the development of sensorineural hearing loss and may affect cochlear implant outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective service improvement project evaluating the medical records of 594 people with a CI under the care of the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service between 2014 and 2020.

Results: The clinical records are suitable for data science research. Of the cohort studied 20% of Adults and more than 40% of the paediatric cases have a history of middle ear inflammation.

Discussion: Data science has potential to improve cochlear implant outcomes and improve understanding of the mechanisms underlying poor performance, through retrospective secondary analysis of real-world data.

Conclusion: Implant centres and the British Cochlear Implant Group National Hearing Implant Registry are urged to consider the importance of consistently and accurate recording of patient data over time for each CI user. Data where links to hearing loss have been identified, such as middle ear inflammation, may be particularly valuable in future analyses and to inform clinical trials.

Keywords: Cochlear Implant; Data Science; Health Informatics; Otitis Media; Prognostic Factors; Real-world Data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cochlear Implantation*
  • Cochlear Implants* / adverse effects
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / etiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Otitis Media*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Speech Perception*