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On the 6th of December 2019 (after the World Hearing Forum organized by the WHO on 4-5 December), a group of hearing health professionals, consumer advocacy organizations together with the 4 CI-companies attended the meeting of the Consumer and Professional Advocacy Committee (CAPAC), to discuss and plan advocacy activities around the forthcoming publication of the Delphi Consensus on International Standards of Care for Adult Cochlear Implantation.  As published in latest EURO-CIU Newsletter of September 2019, Leo De Raeve was representing EURO-CIU in the CAPAC.

The aim of the meeting in Geneva was to address the worldwide lack of access and awareness about the benefits of cochlear implants (CI) to treat severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

It was the first time in history that a group of hearing health professionals, consumer organisations and the 4 CI-companies had a meeting together.  EURO-CIU was well presented at the meeting by Teresa Amat, Joan Zamora, Beatrice Cusmai, Sue Archbold and Leo De Raeve.

The meeting attendees in Geneva (from 19 organisations and representing 40 countries) agreed that advocacy, education and awareness efforts should intensify to provide cochlear implant education to health care professionals, enabling diagnosis, and appropriate referral pathways to expert CI practitioners.

Attendees also stressed the need for worldwide recognition of the benefits for reimbursement of bilateral implantation for adults, highlighting the benefits for productivity and employment, lifelong learning, social inclusion and health and well-being.  The need for standards for rehabilitation and aftercare was also highlighted.

The need for national adult hearing screening programs, followed by defined referral pathways to qualified CI hearing health care professionals would help millions of adults with untreated hearing loss to hearing.

To improve referrals pathways and treatment an International Delphi Consensus Process paper on a minimum Standard of Care for Adult CI treatment expected to be published around 25 February 2020 (=International CI-day).  The paper will provide an important steppingstone to better education of health care professionals and consumers.  An International Standard of Care will provide expert guidance on improved referral pathways and consistent clinical guidelines for treatment of severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

Finally, it was agreed to develop in the near future an International Cochlear Implant Advocacy Alliance, because cochlear implant advocacy is a longitudinal task.

For us, it is clear that EURO-CIU can be an important partner in a developing International Cochlear Implant Advocacy Alliance, supporting lack of access and awareness about the benefits of cochlear implants.

You can download here the press release of this historic event in Geneva.