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Invited Commentary
August 27, 2020

Cochlear Implant Today…Pill Tomorrow

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, New York
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University, New York, New York
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020;146(10):954-955. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.2285

Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in humans. According to recent estimates by the World Health Organization,1 disabling hearing loss (>40 dB in the better-hearing ear in adults and >30 dB in the better-hearing ear in children) affects 466 million people worldwide, including 34 million children, and is expected to double to 900 million people by 2050. Left untreated, hearing loss is associated with health issues, deterioration in quality of life, and financial costs; the latter include costs associated with health care, education, loss of productivity, and societal costs, with a global burden estimated to be $750 billion annually.1 Despite the huge financial burden—as well as demonstration of cost-effectiveness of beneficial interventions to prevent, identify, and address hearing loss—most patients are untreated. For example, it has been estimated that less than 20% of those who could benefit from a hearing aid actually use one.1

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