Introduction

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Survey to explore the views of profoundly deaf people relating to a new clinical trial comparing a cochlear implant to hearing aids in adults

This survey has been created by the COACH trial research team to help us understand more about the views and concerns of adults with profound hearing loss. We will use your responses to ensure that the trial we design and the information we share about it, will be built around the needs and interest of our trial participants. We thank you for your interest.

Is this survey for you?

This survey is for people who have severe or worse hearing loss. This is hearing loss greater than 60 decibels (dB) in loudness. In practice, this means finding it difficult or impossible to hear speech at conversational level. Many people with this level of hearing loss may use powerful hearing aids and/or rely on lip-reading and sign language.

If you believe you have severe or worse hearing loss and you think one of the statements below relates to you, we would like your views about a new study.

Do any of the following statements relate to you?

  • You recently chose to have a cochlear implant.
    • You have either had a cochlear implant within the last 2 years or
    • you have been assessed as eligible to receive one and are currently on the waiting list for an implant to be fitted.
  • You would consider having a cochlear implant.
    • You would like to ask for an assessment or are waiting for an assessment or
    • You have been assessed for cochlear implant eligibility on the NHS but your hearing loss was considered not ‘severe enough’ to be eligible.
  • You would not consider having a cochlear implant.
    • You would not seek an assessment for a cochlear implant or
    • You have been offered a cochlear implant but decided not to have one.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, please read on! If no, please let anyone else know about this survey if you think they might be interested. Thank you.

What is the COACH trial?

It is a research study to find out if a cochlear implant and hearing aid, or hearing aids alone, provide better hearing. This is for adults who are profoundly deaf but who do not meet the criteria for being offered a cochlear implant on the NHS. Find more information on the next page.

What is a cochlear implant?

Cochlear Implants restore hearing to people who have permanent, severe or worse deafness, and cannot hear the full range of speech sounds with hearing aids. Different causes of deafness can be treated with an implant, including age-related hearing loss, congenital deafness, noise exposure, viral infection complications (for example from mumps or meningitis), ear damage from toxic medication, head trauma, otosclerosis (fusion of the bones in the middle ear). They work by turning sound into electrical signals and sending them to part of the inner ear called the cochlea. From here, the signals travel to the brain and are heard as sound.

A cochlear implant has two parts, one on the outside of the body and one inside:  

  • Outside: A microphone and processor behind the ear that picks up sound and changes it into electrical signals. A wire from the processor carries the signals to a transmitter device about the size of a 2p coin placed on the head a few centimetres from the ear. 
  • Inside: A receiver, placed underneath the skin, uses a magnet to hold the external transmitter in place. The receiver picks up the electrical signals and sends them along wires threaded into the cochlea of the inner ear. The electrical signals reach and excite the hearing (auditory) nerve, allowing the brain to hear.

 

Schematic showing the capture of sound by the microphone, conversion to electrical signals and direction of the signals to the hearing nerve via the transmitter behind the ear, receiver under the skin and electrodes into the cochlea of the inner ear.and

 

A cochlear implant can work together with a hearing aid too. For example, having an implant on the weaker hearing ear and a hearing aid on the other ear.

Usually, patients offered a cochlear implant have already tried and exhausted different hearing aid options (for example, different makes, settings or different ear moulds). Cochlear implants have a high success rate but as surgery is required to fit the implant, the procedure is irreversible.

In the UK, adults who qualify are offered an implant on one ear only. Typically, children are offered implants on both ears if required. Adults with other sensory difficulties, such as blindness, are also offered implants on both ears if required.

Please read an introduction to the study on the next page and then complete the part of the survey which relates most closely to you. Thank you.