Some degree of disabling hearing loss is present in 466 million people world-wide, representing 5% of the world’s population and the majority of these are adults over 65 years old. Hearing loss is associated with increased risks of social isolation, depression, dementia, stroke, vision loss, diabetes and mortality. It is in the top five causes of years lived with disability in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for males and top 10 for females. Hearing aids are a suitable treatment for mild to moderate loses but for some they do not provide enough benefit. Cochlear implantation is a proven and effective treatment for bilateral severe to profound hearing loss, yet despite good funding in high income countries, the utilisation of CI is poor (less than 10% of suitable patients), especially in the older adult population who arguably need it most. Prevalence data shows that hearing loss increases with age, but the provision of implants in the over 65 s is even lower, despite there being no clinical barriers to older adults receiving a CI. Survey data shows that awareness activities are needed for both professionals and the general population to improve knowledge of what a CI is and how it can help.
Part of the book: Advances in Rehabilitation of Hearing Loss