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1 March 2013 

Do deaf people have access to cochlear implantation if they need it?

‘Access to Cochlear Implantation’, a supplement to the peer-reviewed journal Cochlear Implants International, published by Maney Publishing, provides a unique insight to the issues of access to cochlear care. The supplement reviews the diversity and important commonalities of cochlear implant availability in five countries: Belgium, China, Japan, the UK and the US.

The supplement explores why so many children and adults who could benefit from cochlear implants are not receiving the intervention. Utilisation by children varies greatly with only 50% of eligible children in the US receiving cochlear implants compared with 90% or more of children in many European countries.  Adult utilisation of cochlear implants was 5% or less across all five countries examined.

The reasons identified for low utilisation include low awareness of the benefits in the general population, and health care professionals; the lack of specific referral pathways; political issues relative to the Deaf community, particularly in the US; financial issues related to provision; and stringent candidacy requirements.

The articles in the supplement cover all these issues, and it is hoped that through dialogue and understanding all eligible children and adults will receive the treatment they deserve and the benefits of cochlear implantation.

The supplement was organised by the newly formed American Cochlear Implant Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation of cochlear implant professionals and consumer advocates, which is working to remove barriers to access in the United States.

John K. Niparko (MD, Chair, ACI Alliance and Chair, Dept. of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Southern California) states: “’Access to Cochlear Implantation’ provides unique insights into the underlying reasons for low utilisation of cochlear implants around the world. Given the societal savings associated with cochlear implantation, the observations reported here deserve serious consideration.


John Graham, Editor of Cochlear Implants International, also comments: “Cochlear Implants International is most grateful to Cochlear Europe LTD for kindly agreeing to sponsor the publication of this supplement”.


The online supplement is open access and is now available via ingentaconnect. The print version is available to purchase at

Access to Cochlear Implantation’ has been published online via maney’s open access model MORE OpenChoice. For further information visit

Cochlear Implants International
 is the only interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal devoted entirely to cochlear and brainstem implants. It is designed to include scientific contributions from all the disciplines represented in cochlear implant teams: audiology, medicine and surgery, speech therapy and speech pathology, psychology, hearing therapy, radiology, pathology, engineering and acoustics, teaching and communication. For more information on the journal visit