Age-related hearing loss is the third-most common chronic health condition among older adults. Cochlear implants (CIs), medical devices that create a representation of sound in the brain, are offering a new solution to the condition. Today, many older adults are taking advantage of the devices as eligibility and reimbursement considerations change.
Despite their benefits, CIs can be challenging to use in real-world settings. The difficulties can cause users to avoid social situations or to stop using their CI altogether. Additionally, in-person support services may be difficult to access due to time, financial, and locational constraints.
KDHRC will develop the The Cochlear Implant Support Center: Online Resources for Older Adults. This interactive, web-based resource will build the knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and social skills of older adults to realize optimum benefits from their CIs.
The Cochlear Implant Support Center will also provide information for family members to support adults with CIs through building knowledge, self-efficacy, and intentions to support. The Cochlear Implant Support Center meets the substantial and growing need for low-cost, widely available, and evidence-based sources of ongoing support for older adults with CIs and their families.
The Cochlear Implant Support Center evaluation, planned for Winter 2017, will measure the extent to which use of the Cochlear Implant Support Center website significantly and positively changes older adults’ knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions to benefit from their CIs. The evaluation will also measure family members’ knowledge, self-efficacy, and intentions to support older adults with CIs.
When completed, the Cochlear Implant Support Center will be a publicly available website.
Research briefs and other publications about the Cochlear Implant Support Center will be forthcoming as we continue developing and evaluating the program.