Why Do People Stop Using Their Cochlear Implants?

Each week in Australia, 1500 new cases of dementia are diagnosed. A recent study by SCIC into why 2.86% of SCIC’s recipients  stop using their cochlear implant  found that  of the 86 “non user’s” of cochlear implants have 20% have dementia.  A “non user” of a cochlear implant is a person who has a functioning device that they no longer use.  SCIC will be researching this topic further to ensure that non use is prevented wherever possible. Our first priority is to optimise the opportunities for recipients who develop dementia to continue use of their cochlear implants by ensuring the appropriate support mechanisms and networks are in place. Further, we plan to research the value of screening tools to help us monitor recipient’s abilities to manage their cochlear implant s independently. Our SCIC research team is developing protocols in collaboration with other major CI centres throughout Australia.

A further area that we will be researching is the reasons people feel they may not be obtaining adequate benefit from their cochlear implants. A survey and interview procedure will be undertaken in 2013 to further determine what mechanisms may assist people in developing more consistent use patterns of their cochlear implants.

Whilst the non-users of cochlear implants are a very small proportion of the population that we care for, our research and resulting clinical practises will aim to minimise this even further.


Figure 1: The profile of non users of cochlear implants . The green bar is the age that the recipients received their cochlear implant, blue bar how long they used their cochlear implant and pink bar the duration they have not been using their cochlear implants. The red arrows show those implanted under the age of 10 and those  over the age of 70.

 Population of non users at SCIC


Figure 2: reasons people stop using their cochlear implants. Over half of those who stopped using their cochlear implant felt they were getting no benefit, whilst a further 20% developed dementia.

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