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Patients With Cochlear Implants May Have Opportunities for Remote Care

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 8:53:15 PM Australia/Melbourne

A new 6-month randomized study including two groups will compare care for those with cochlear implants.


News Medical for Life Sciences and Medicine reports that one group will use a remote care package for patients involved, which the other will follow the standardized clinical program in place.


Patients With Cochlear Implants May Have Opportunities for Remote CareCochlear implants are small but complex electronic devices, which can aid the sense of sound if a patient is either severely hard-of-hearing or completely deaf. Cochlear implants are designed with a portion under the skin and a portion that sits directly behind the ear. How do they work? Cochlear implants have microphones with pick up sound from the surrounding environment. They also have a transmitter and receiver or stimulator, which will receive the different signals that the speech processor emits. It then convers them into tiny electric impulses, and communicates them to a speech processor. The speech processor selects sounds, arranges them and then lets the microphone pick them up for the patient. While cochlear implants don’t restore hearing, they do help those with hearing impairments to receive a useful representation of how sounds will come across ears in different environments. They can also help patients learn and understand speech patterns.


While cochlear implants have made a huge impact in the audiology industry, they can be a higher maintenance care plan for many. Once a patient has a cochlear implant in place, they need to make sure that they visit a care team at least annually, for the remainder of their lives. Patients need to make sure that the devices are working correctly, and doctors need to monitor any changes in the patient’s hearing. But what happens if you live a hundred miles away from a major city? Or can’t afford to commute to these regular appointments? This study wants to offer options so that everyone can receive the care that they deserve.


Helen Cullington, the study’s lead investigator says, “We’ve found that more users are becoming empowered and want to manage their own care. We want to find out how feasible it is to offer remote care. It won’t be for everyone but it could make a major difference to the lives of many cochlear implant users. We are also interviewing clinic staff, as we are interested to see what the impact of remote care is on them and the service that they provide.”


So an entire group of patients will be included in the remote care arm and will oversee their own rehabilitation plans, oversee their own device care and monitor their own hearing from the comfort of their own homes. The success of this study will depend in part on a open-source program called “Lifeguide.”


While this particular study is still young, it does hold promise for an even more diversified market of approaches to dealing with hearing impairments. Studies like these embody the Hearlink ethos that audiology services should be available to everyone, no matter what their means or location.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin