How is Cochlear working to improve cochlear implant awareness?
One of our biggest efforts has been investment in consumer education. We conducted extensive research on the needs, knowledge gaps, and misunderstandings. Then, developed campaigns in partnership with our clinical and medical advisors to place in popular media such as AARP, WebMD, and even most recently, television commercials. We executed extensive online and community-based education events that included cochlear implant recipients sharing personal experiences. We also engaged celebrities such as Lou Ferrigno* to help us raise awareness! In parallel, we concentrated our professional education efforts on clinicians who primarily work with hearing aids and therefore have limited exposure to the candidacy criteria and outcomes for cochlear implants. This has helped build confidence and connections within local professional networks on which to counsel and make a recommendation for a cochlear implant evaluation. There is an evidenced-based approach using a 60/60 referral guideline which states patients should be referred if they demonstrate a best ear unaided monosyllabic word score less than or equal to 60% correct and if they demonstrate an unaided pure-tone average in their better ear that is greater than or equal to 60 dB HL (Zwolan et al., 2020). It is hoped that this simple 60/60 guideline will improve access to cochlear implantation.
This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the interview, Learn How Cochlear Commits to Improved Hearing Health for all Through Hearing Health Literacy and Standard of Care Guidelines.
*Lou Ferrigno is a paid brand advocate for Cochlear; however, medical treatment and health decisions were made independently by him and his hearing health provider.