International Cochlear Implant Day commemorates the date on which the world’s first cochlear implant precursor operation was performed, February 25th, 1957, 66 years ago. Since 2009, this day has been celebrated all over the world, sponsored by our organization.
The Cochlear Implant is for many people an unknown technical aid for hearing, but for many others it has opened up new paths, offering them the possibility of recovering their lost hearing. The EURO-CIU European Association of Cochlear Implant Users will carry out awareness-raising events to give visibility with the international mottos:
Proud to be Me! Hear me now!
Throughout Europe there are more than 500,000 people who have received cochlear implants, 60% are adults and 40% are minors, at the time of implantation. For more than 25 years, EURO-CIU has been representing the interests of cochlear implant users throughout Continental Europe. Its mission is the truthful dissemination of information about cochlear implants in all areas and the defense of the interests and rights of the group, as well as their families, offering advice and support at any stage of life.
The cochlear implant is an auditory technical aid that requires surgical intervention and is used to restore hearing by transforming sound into electrical energy to stimulate the auditory nerve. Cochlear implants (CI) make it possible for people to hear and understand sounds, even if they have damaged hair cells in the inner ear and have a severe or a profound hearing loss.
The cochlear implant is the only medical device capable of replacing a sense,
a technology that has revolutionized the world of hearing impairment.
Currently the cochlear implant is covered by public health in most countries, in adults and the elderly unilaterally, without age limits, and in children the implantation sometimes is covered bilaterally (one in each ear). Unfortunately some studies show that only 5.7% of adults and elderly people, possible candidates for a cochlear implants, have access to them.
There is no specific age to be implanted; The cochlear implant contributes to communicative interaction both at an early age and in adults who report that, with its use, isolation and lack of communication caused by hearing loss is avoided. The lack of information, dissemination and adequate referral channels hinder the development and knowledge of this technology, which numerous studies have shown to delay the onset of senile dementia and Alzheimer’s. By delaying these diseases, cochlear implantation is very cost-effective as it could even be payed itself, says some studies, in just 18 months.
As a reference organization, we are trying to increase political advocacy to ensure that cochlear implant users are full citizens in society, as well as eradicating communication barriers in any field, advocating for inclusion of captioning in audiovisual media and speech-to-text in live events.
It is necessary to break the stigma around disabilities, especially invisible ones such as sensory disabilities, and change our way of thinking about hearing devices from something related to “ageing” to something related to “quality of life”.
EURO-CIU encourages the media, organizations, administrations, educational centers, etc. to schedule outreach activities to commemorate this day and give visibility to the cochlear implant and its users, because We are: Proud to be Us! Hear Us now!
We are at your disposal for interviews – news – audiovisual material with cochlear implanted deaf people, members of the EURO-CIU at different countries and regions and/or representatives of administrations and/or collaborating companies.