Prevalence of cochlear implants in Europe: What do we know and what can we expect?
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Independent Information Center on Cochlear Implants (ONICI), Belgium
Retired Secretary, European Cochlear Implant Users Association (Euro-CIU), Luxemburg
Publication date: 2013-12-31
Corresponding author
Leo De Raeve   

Leo De Raeve, Waardstraat 9, 3520 Zonhoven, Belgium, Tel. +32 11 816854, Mobile +32 479716120, e-mail
J Hear Sci 2013;3(4):9-16
Cochlear implantation is the major beneficial treatment of bilateral profound deafness in children and adults, but there are big differences in utilisation between European countries.

Material and Method:
Statistical data on the number of implanted persons are obtained each year by Euro-CIU (the European Association of Cochlear Implant Users). This study models the trends and gives an overview of the current number of cochlear implants in 16 European countries; our model predicts the future demand on cochlear implants in children and adults.

The degree of utilisation of cochlear implantation by suitable children and adults varies considerably between the European countries. Most less affluent East European countries focus on the implantation of children rather than adults. Although adult recipient numbers are growing, it has been estimated that less than 10% of adult candidates in Europe receive a CI. There is little to no scientific data available on late onset, or progressive, hearing loss in children or adults.

It is possible to estimate the yearly number of CI candidates in a country, but we don’t yet have enough reliable data to put into our model. Because of the underutilisation of cochlear implants, especially in adults, we have to work on raising the general awareness of the benefits of cochlear implants, and its improvement in quality of life, based on cost-effectiveness data and on guidelines for good clinical practice.

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