How can we improve awareness about the potential advantages of cochlear implants in adults with severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss?
A Delphi consensus panel of 30 international specialists voted on statements about cochlear implant use, informed by a systematic review of the literature and clinical expertise. This vote resulted in 20 evidence-based consensus statements that are in line with clinical experience.
The consensus statements provide recommendations on the use of unilateral cochlear implants in adults with severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss; they could inform the development of clinical practice guidelines, which could increase access to cochlear implantation worldwide and improve hearing and quality of life in eligible adults.
Cochlear implants are a treatment option for individuals with severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids; however, cochlear implantation in adults is still not routine.
To develop consensus statements regarding the use of unilateral cochlear implants in adults with severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound bilateral SNHL.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This study was a modified Delphi consensus process that was informed by a systematic review of the literature and clinical expertise. Searches were conducted in the following databases: (1) MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and Ovid MEDLINE, (2) Embase, and (3) the Cochrane Library. Consensus statements on cochlear implantation were developed using the evidence identified. This consensus process was relevant for the use of unilateral cochlear implantation in adults with severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound bilateral SNHL. The literature searches were conducted on July 18, 2018, and the 3-step Delphi consensus method took place over the subsequent 9-month period up to March 30, 2019.
Main Outcomes and Measures
A Delphi consensus panel of 30 international specialists voted on consensus statements about cochlear implantation, informed by an SR of the literature and clinical expertise. This vote resulted in 20 evidence-based consensus statements that are in line with clinical experience. A modified 3-step Delphi consensus method was used to vote on and refine the consensus statements. This method consisted of 2 rounds of email questionnaires and a face-to-face meeting of panel members at the final round. All consensus statements were reviewed, discussed, and finalized at the face-to-face meeting.
In total, 6492 articles were identified in the searches of the electronic databases. After removal of duplicate articles, 74 articles fulfilled all of the inclusion criteria and were used to create the 20 evidence-based consensus statements. These 20 consensus statements on the use of unilateral cochlear implantation in adults with SNHL were relevant to the following 7 key areas of interest: level of awareness of cochlear implantation (1 consensus statement); best practice clinical pathway from diagnosis to surgery (3 consensus statements); best practice guidelines for surgery (2 consensus statements); clinical effectiveness of cochlear implantation (4 consensus statements); factors associated with postimplantation outcomes (4 consensus statements); association between hearing loss and depression, cognition, and dementia (5 consensus statements); and cost implications of cochlear implantation (1 consensus statement).
Conclusions and Relevance
These consensus statements represent the first step toward the development of international guidelines on best practices for cochlear implantation in adults with SNHL. Further research to develop consensus statements for unilateral cochlear implantation in children, bilateral cochlear implantation, combined electric-acoustic stimulation, unilateral cochlear implantation for single-sided deafness, and asymmetrical hearing loss in children and adults may be beneficial for optimizing hearing and quality of life for these patients.
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Buchman CA, Gifford RH, Haynes DS, et al. Unilateral Cochlear Implants for Severe, Profound, or Moderate Sloping to Profound Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss: A Systematic Review and Consensus Statements. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online August 27, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.0998
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