Hearing implant organisations welcome landmark consensus on a minimum standard of care for treating adult hearing loss with a cochlear implant

28 August, 2020

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 28th August 2020: Hearing implant organisations, Advanced Bionics, Cochlear, MED-EL, and Oticon Medical, today welcomed the first ever global consensus on the use of cochlear implants as the minimum standard of care for adults with bilateral severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound hearing loss. The paper was published today in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.1

The paper was authored by a new independent panel, including 31 hearing experts from surgical and audiology backgrounds representing more than 13 countries.1

The consensus paper was unanimously welcomed by hearing implant organisations.

Victoria Carr-Brendel, Ph.D., President, Advanced Bionics; and GVP Cochlear Implants, Sonova said, "for the first time, a world-renowned panel of experts have prepared a consensus statement supporting cochlear implantation as standard of care for the treatment of severe-to-profound hearing loss. Initiatives of this kind promote important consistency in the provision of high-quality, evidence-based hearing healthcare. Advanced Bionics is proud to support this endeavour that takes a foundational step toward strengthening connections between people with hearing loss and their dearest family and friends."

Dig Howitt, CEO of Cochlear, said, "this paper is a cornerstone that lays the foundations to help more adults living with severe hearing loss. Data suggest that fewer than one in 20 adults who could benefit from a cochlear implant have one, which could mean missing out on social connections and participating in everyday life. While technology has improved remarkably, awareness and access need to improve. This guidance will help professionals know when the time is right to refer for a cochlear implant assessment. We look forward to collaborating with experts across the world to help improve hearing for more adults living with hearing loss."

Dr. techn. DDr. med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair, CEO, MED-EL said, "initiatives like this will help us to tackle the silent burden of severe hearing loss, to prioritise hearing loss as a public health challenge and to raise awareness of the condition. This consensus paper should help to establish a minimal standard of care for the management of severe, profound or moderate sloping to profound sensorineural hearing loss so that for all people who don't have enough benefit from a hearing aid, a solution can be provided. The cochlear implant will help them to communicate again with their family and friends and to regain their position in the hearing society."

Jes Olsen, President Oticon Medical, said, "there are millions of adults around the world suffering from the consequences of profound hearing loss without knowing what their treatment options are. It is with activities like this one, we can increase awareness and knowledge about how profound hearing loss can be treated successfully, and we would like to thank the group of professionals behind this landmark consensus work."

The consensus paper included 20 statements covering seven themes, including:

  1. Awareness of cochlear implants;
  2. Best practice clinical pathway for diagnosis;
  3. Best practice guidelines for surgery;
  4. Clinical effectiveness of cochlear implants;
  5. Factors associated with post-implantation outcomes;
  6. The relationship between hearing loss and depression, cognition and dementia;
  7. Cost implications of cochlear implants.

Each statement was agreed upon by the panel members followed by a consultation with a Consumer and Professional Advocacy Committee (CAPAC), which included seven organisations representing cochlear implant users and professional societies.

The process was supported by funding from the four hearing implant organisations, who had no input to the design and conduct of the study*.

To view the consensus paper, including the full methodology and consensus statements, click here.

About the authors

The Delphi consensus process on unilateral cochlear implantation in adults with bilateral severe, profound, or moderate sloping to profound sensorineural hearing loss was guided by a non-voting Chair, Dr Craig Buchman, Head of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, USA. The Chair was supported by four steering committee members who were able to vote: Professor René Gifford, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, U.S.; Dr David Haynes, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, U.S.; Professor Thomas Lenarz, Medical University of Hannover, Germany and Professor Gerard O'Donoghue, University of Nottingham, UK.

The Delphi panel comprised an additional 26 experts in the field of CI use, including audiologists and ear, nose and throat specialists from across 13 countries.

In addition, a Consumer and Professional Advocacy Committee (CAPAC) of international CI user and professional advocacy organisations was involved in the development of the consensus statements.

About Advanced Bionics (AB)

Advanced Bionics is a global leader in implantable solutions for severe-to-profound hearing loss. For more than 25 years, AB has removed limitations for those otherwise isolated from the world of sound. Always focused on bringing meaningful change through innovative technology, AB has set the standard for performance, lifestyle support, and access to sound in the field of cochlear implantation. Having implanted over 100,000 ears in over 130 countries and established a track record for developing high-performing, state-of-the-art products, our team of talented scientist, engineers, audiologists and other professionals are driven to succeed, work with integrity, and stay firmly committed to quality.

At AB, success begins with a passion for hearing restoration that is driven by our global workforce of over a thousand employees. AB is proud to be the only U.S. based manufacturer of cochlear implants and equally proud to be a part of the larger Sonova organization. Sonova companies include brands focused on hearing aids, cochlear implants, wireless communications, and clinical services. Together, we strive to create a world where everyone lives a life without limitations.

About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of more than 4,000 people and invests more than AUD$180 million each year in research and development. Products include cochlear implants, bone conduction implants and acoustic implants, which healthcare professionals use to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss.

Since 1981, Cochlear has provided more than 600,000 implantable devices, helping people of all ages, in more than 180 countries, to hear.

About MED-EL

MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has grown to more than 2,200 employees from around 75 nations and 30 locations worldwide.

The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 124 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system, auditory brainstem implants as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. www.medel.com

About Oticon Medical

Oticon Medical is a global company in implantable hearing solutions, dedicated to bringing the magical world of sound to people at every stage of life. As part of the Demant group, a global leader in hearing healthcare with 14,500 people in over 130 countries, we have access to one of the world’s strongest research and development teams, the latest technological advances and insights into hearing care.

Our competencies span more than a century of innovations in sound processing and decades of pioneering experience in hearing implant technology. We work collaboratively with patients, physicians and hearing care professionals to ensure that every solution we create is designed with users’ needs in mind. We share an unwavering commitment to provide innovative solutions and support that enhance quality of life for people wherever life may take them.

Because we know how much sound matters.

Cochlear media contact
Aaron Dowling
Corporate Communications Manager
Email: adowling@cochlear.com
Tel: +61 448 457 583

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Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always follow the directions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

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*Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA, USA), Cochlear Ltd (Sydney, NSW, Australia), MED-EL (Innsbruck, Austria), and Oticon Medical (Smorum, Denmark) provided funding for assistance with the preparation of the manuscript and were informed of the decision to submit the manuscript for publication; they had no input to the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. There was no remuneration of the Delphi participants including the Chair and Committee members.


  1. Buchman et al. Unilateral Cochlear Implants for Bilateral Severe, Profound, or Moderate Sloping to Profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss: A Systematic Review and Consensus. JAMA Otolaryngology 2020. [Epub ahead of print]. Available at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology