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Research helps patients of all ages

November 1, 2017

Daphne Williams, 81, received a cochlear implant at the Eye and Ear last year and says it’s a ‘whole new life’ now, with radically improved hearing and social life. Current research is looking into ways to better predict the outcomes of adult cochlear implant recipients.

The research is being carried out by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) in partnership with the Eye and Ear, led by Professor Robert Cowan and Dr Kerrie Plant.

Professor Cowan says that while the majority of cochlear implant recipients have improved communication after surgery, it is challenging to predict how an individual patient might benefit.

"People want to know ‘Will I be better off?’. This research will help both patients and clinicians make informed decisions about the likely benefits from cochlear implants," he says.

Research such as Professor Cowan and Dr Plant’s helps a broader range of people make decisions about cochlear implants and their hearing.

While lots of people think you can only get your first cochlear implant early in life, they are available for all ages whenever severe hearing loss presents.

Professor Cowan says it’s great that the candidature pool is expanding with advances in technology.

"There have been huge improvements in implant technology and speech processing. In the 1980s, only people who were totally deaf were eligible for implants."

Outcomes of this research partnership will help clinicians ensure patients make well informed decisions about undertaking the surgery and to manage their expectations.