Why Do Cochlear Implant Candidates Defer Surgery? A Retrospective Case-Control Study.

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The Laryngoscope


OBJECTIVE(S): Despite undergoing thorough cochlear implant (CI) candidacy evaluation and counseling, some patients ultimately elect against implantation. This study sought to identify patient-related and socioeconomic factors predicting CI deferral.

METHODS: A retrospective study of adult (≥18 years old) CI candidates presenting between 2007 and 2021 at a tertiary academic CI center was performed. The primary outcome was device implantation. Data collected included age, gender, hearing status, race, zip code of residence, median family income (MFI), distance traveled from the CI center, marital status, employment status, and insurance status. Multivariable binary logistic regression was performed to identify predictors of implantation.

RESULTS: A total of 200 patients qualifying for CI were included, encompassing 77 adults deferring surgery (CI-deferred) and 123 consecutive adults electing for surgery (CI-pursued). Age, gender, hearing status, insurance type, employment status, distance from the implant center, and MFI were comparable between the groups (p > 0.05). Compared to CI-pursued patients, CI-deferred patients were more likely to be non-Caucasian (24.7% vs. 9.8%, p = 0.015) and unmarried (55.8% vs. 38.2%, p = 0.015). On multivariable logistic regression, older age (OR 0.981, 0.964-0.998, p = 0.027), African American race (OR 0.227, 0.071-0.726, p = 0.012), and unmarried status (OR 0.505, 0.273-0.935, p = 0.030) were independent predictors of implant deferral.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that increasing age at evaluation, African American race, and unmarried status are predictors for deferring CI surgery despite being implant candidates. These patients may benefit from increased outreach in the form of counseling, education, and social support prior to undergoing CI surgery.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3 - retrospective study with internal control group Laryngoscope, 2023.





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