A new report presents the latest research from The Ear Foundation exploring decision-making for bimodal hearing and technology, and includes for the first time the views of audiologists who manage hearing aid provision.
This report highlights the personal and societal challenges of adult hearing loss, the impact of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other implantable devices but focuses on the experiences of users and hearing aid audiologists. There is much evidence to show that “two ears are better than one”, for listening in background noise, being able to tell where sounds come from and to follow group conversation. With most adults receiving only one implant and interest in changes in criteria for cochlear implantation, there is increased interest in the benefits and challenges of bimodal hearing. However, while there is some evidence on the benefit of bimodal hearing, it seems most adults with one implant do not continue to wear a hearing aid in the other ear. This report explores some of the reasons for this and includes for the first time the views of the audiologists who manage hearing aid provision.
The report recommends:
- Greater information available about the possibility of wearing a hearing aid and implant
- Clarification of the roles and responsibilities of cochlear implant centres and audiology clinics with regard to advice about the use of bimodal hearing and its ongoing management.
- Development of agreed protocols for ongoing bimodal management by hearing aid and cochlear implant clinics
- CI and HA programming and management to be planned in the same appointment wherever possible, so bimodal technology management is seen as one rather than separate entities for holistic intervention
- Training for audiologists on the joint management of cochlear implant and hearing aid
- Clear information for hearing aid audiologists and users about the issues concerning bimodal usage
- Further in-depth research into the characteristics of good bimodal users
The Report can be download from http://www.earfoundation.org.uk/research/adult-strategy-reports/adults-with-hearing-loss-hearing-aid-and-implant-2017