The benefits of cochlear implantation for adults: a systematic umbrella review

Diana Tang*, Yvonne Tran, Charles Lo, Jien Nien Lee, Jessica Turner, David McAlpine, Catherine McMahon, Bamini Gopinath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The uptake of cochlear implants among adults who could benefit (based on pure-tone audiometry) in developed countries is estimated to be less than 10%. Concerns about potential surgical complications, fear of losing residual hearing, and limited awareness about the benefits of this intervention contribute to the low adoption rate. To enhance quality of life and improve the uptake of cochlear implants, it is essential to have a clear understanding of their benefits.

DESIGN: This umbrella review aims to summarize the major benefits of cochlear implant usage in adults, by synthesizing findings from published review articles. A comprehensive search of databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar, was conducted. The search was limited to English-language review articles published between 1990 and 2022, focusing on cochlear implant outcomes in at least 5 adults (aged ≥18 years). Two independent reviewers screened titles, abstracts, and full-text articles, and conducted a quality assessment using the Joanna Briggs Checklist for Systematic Reviews and Research Syntheses.

RESULTS: Forty-two articles were included in this review. There were 15 systematic reviews with meta-analysis, 25 systematic reviews without meta-analysis, and 2 systematic scoping reviews. All 42 articles underwent quality assessment using the Joanna Briggs Institute Checklist for Systematic Reviews and Research Syntheses, of which 40% (n = 17) satisfied 9 out of 11 quality criteria. This umbrella review shows that cochlear implants are associated with improvements in speech perception and recognition as well as improved quality of life and cognition. These benefits are observed in a significant proportion of adults undergoing the procedure, highlighting its effectiveness as a viable intervention for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss.

CONCLUSIONS: The potential benefits of cochlear implantation appear to outweigh the risks and complications associated with the procedure. It is recommended that adults with severe to profound hearing loss in particular, engage in informed discussions with healthcare professionals to consider cochlear implantation as a viable treatment option.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEar and Hearing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • adult
  • benefit
  • cochlear implant
  • outcome
  • review


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