Research Ear, Hearing and Vestibular

Grant awarded to Washington University researchers to study cochlear implant use

ACIA Grant

The American Cochlear Implant Alliance has awarded a $30,000 grant to Department of Otolaryngology researchers to study under-utilization of cochlear implants in the U.S.

The objectives of the study, Adult Cochlear Implant Utilization in the United States: A Nationwide Analysis, are to:

head shot of Kevin Zhan, MD
Kevin Zhan, MD
  1. Better describe the under-utilization of cochlear implants across the U.S. to significant geographic detail; and
  2. Study demographic, socioeconomic, and potentially other geospatial factors that might be influencing poor cochlear implant uptake. 

The primary investigators are neurotology fellow Kevin Zhan, MD, Lindburg Professor and Chair Craig A. Buchman, MD, and Angela Mazul PhD, MPH.

“The study is important because despite widespread insurance coverage, cochlear implant cochlear implant use remains vastly underutilized for the American population with severe to profound hearing loss,” says Zhan. “Studies estimate that only 5-12% of patients who qualify for an implant actually get the device, despite its incredible ability to improve sound perception and speech understanding. The first step to figuring out how to improve utilization is to first characterize the problem in significant detail across the country and explore trends and find insights along the way.”