Cochlear Implants and Seniors: When Hearing Aids Aren't Enough
June 2003 (Washington, DC and Denver, CO)-Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH), the foremost membership and advocacy organization serving Americans with hearing loss, and Cochlear Americas, manufacturer of the Cochlear Nucleus line of cochlear implants, have collaborated to produce an exciting new educational resource for consumers, Cochlear Implants and Seniors: When Hearing Aids Aren't Enough. Sponsored by Cochlear Americas and produced by SHHH, this detailed, 16-page publication provides a clear and straightforward description of the cochlear implant (CI) process, and specifically addresses the concerns of seniors who are interested in cochlear implants.
"Seniors often ask if their age precludes successful results with a cochlear implant. The answer is no," says Donna Sorkin, Vice President of Consumer Affairs, Cochlear Americas. "Thousands of cochlear implant recipients in their 70s, 80s, and beyond have experienced important improvements in their ability to communicate after receiving a cochlear implant. Cochlear Americas is proud to be the sponsor of this accessible resource for people with hearing loss, their families, and the health care professionals who serve them."
While CI technology has long been a treatment for severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss in children and younger to middle-aged adults, hearing health care-professionals were sometimes disinclined to recommend CI's for seniors. Historically, in our culture, there has been a widely accepted assumption that seniors simply did not need to hear as well as younger people, that to be hard of hearing when older is just a normal and accepted part of life. This belief is now seen as rather dated and biased.
Today's seniors are often highly involved in areas of life that benefit from hearing well - many people into their 60s and 70s still work, many seniors participate in community service, many travel extensively, and recent reports show that many seniors are raising grandchildren themselves. While it may once have been true that seniors led relatively "quiet" lives, the world has changed - leading-edge assistive listening technology, including CI's, are appropriate for today's seniors. People of all ages deserve to benefit from the assistive listening technology now available and continue to interact effectively with the world. Better hearing means better communication and understanding, not to mention enhanced feelings of security, self-confidence and safety.
The landmark Project Hope study (1999) estimated the breakdown of the population of eligible candidates for CI technology by age. Of the total likely candidate population in the United States, 27 percent are between the ages of 65 to 79, and another 27 percent are over age 80. Reviewed by leading clinicians in the field, Cochlear Implants and Seniors references key studies demonstrating the value of CI's for this demographic group, and addresses frequently voiced concerns by older consumers.
SHHH Executive Director Terry Portis says, "As the nation's leading consumer advocacy organization for adults with hearing loss, SHHH is committed to addressing areas of interest and concern to our constituents. Through our magazine, Hearing Loss: The Journal of SHHH and through exciting new publications such as the Cochlear Implants and Seniors booklet, we communicate the best, most leading-edge information about hearing loss technology available today. We invite consumers to order a copy of the new booklet from SHHH, free of charge, or view it on our newly updated website, www.hearingloss.org."
SHHH is offering Cochlear Implants and Seniors: When Hearing Aids Aren't Enough free of charge to consumers and is distributing the booklet to a wide range of hearing health professionals associated with organizations such as the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and other related organizations. SHHH will offer multiple copies of this important resource to medical professionals and other organizations at little or no charge going forward.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH) impacts accessibility, public policy, research, awareness, and service delivery on a national and global level. Through its 250 chapters and 13 state organizations, SHHH is a national support network that makes a difference in peoples' lives through information, connection and representation. Their primary message is that hearing loss is a challenge that you can overcome, you do not have to hide hearing loss, and you do not have to face hearing loss alone.
About Cochlear Americas
Denver-based Cochlear Americas is the U.S. headquarters for Cochlear Limited, the world leader in cochlear implant technology. Cochlear is a winner of the 2001 Medical Design Excellence Awards for its design of the Cochlear Nucleus 24 Contour' implant and the FDA Commissioner's Special Citation for the development and commercialization of the Cochlear Nucleus 24 Multichannel Auditory Brainstem implant. To date, more than 45,000 people worldwide have received Cochlear Nucleus implants.