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The Cost and Analysis of Nonuse of Cochlear Implants

Raine, Christopher H.*; Summerfield, Quentin; Strachan, David R.*; Martin, Jane M.*; Totten, Catherine*

doi: 10.1097/mao.0b013e31815c25a1
Original Articles

Objective: Analysis of the cost implications and reasons for nonuse of cochlear implants in an established cochlear implant unit.

Study Design: Clinical data were analyzed retrospectively to construct a table of cochlear implant use over time to identify nonuse and to suggest the reasons for this.

Setting: Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service is a tertiary referral center.

Patients: Three hundred forty consecutively implanted patients from 1990 to 2005.

Main Outcome Measures: Life table analysis showed that most children used their implant (p = 0.7 during 11 yr). However, 11 of 155 children and 2 of 185 adults became nonusers during the period of study. The 11 children stopped because of age at implant, educational placement, and family support. Two adults stopped because of psychological issues and inability to adapt to the signal. Surgical and implant costs have initial impact, with subsequent years' costs reflecting programming issues and maintenance. When considering nonuse, there are 2 effects: first, no more costs are incurred, and second, no more years of use are accumulated. Thus, nonuse reduces both costs and years. Costs of gaining a year of use as a function of time showed that there was little financial impact from the 11 children nonusers. As a ratio of "no nonuse" and observed "nonuse" in children, the ratio is 1.07 by 13 years of implantation (7%). The adult group was too few to analyze.

Conclusion: The nonuse added 7% to the average cost. Retrospective audit identifies that patient selection by a multidisciplinary team is crucial to reducing nonuse.

*Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Bradford; and †Department of Psychology, University of York, York, U.K.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Christopher H. Raine, Ch.M., Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Bradford BD9 6RJ, U.K.; E-mail:

© 2008 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.