CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Semin Hear 2022; 43(04): 317-323
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1758376
Review Article

Cochlear Implant Awareness in the United States: A National Survey of 15,138 Adults

John P. Marinelli
1   Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Sarah A. Sydlowski
2   Cleveland Clinic Head and Neck Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
Matthew L. Carlson
1   Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
3   Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
› Author Affiliations
Funding The survey was funded, administered, and analyzed by MarkeTrak 2022 of the Hearing Industries Association. Data reporting and manuscript drafting were performed independently by the authors.


Hearing loss is increasingly recognized as a chronic disease that warrants treatment. Depression, social isolation, loneliness, and poorer cognitive performance have all been linked to untreated and undertreated adult-onset hearing loss. A significant subset of the patient population with hearing loss is inadequately rehabilitated by hearing aids alone and may benefit from cochlear implantation. Yet, it is estimated that less than 10% of those who qualify have received implants to date. A national survey was conducted online in November and December 2021. Subjects were identified using Dynata panelists and river sampling. Enrollment occurred on a rolling basis. Upfront sample management techniques were used to control the distribution, balancing the respondent cohort to the 2018 U.S. Census on age, household income, sex, marital status, household size, race/ethnicity, and education. Among 15,138 adult respondents with a mean (SD) age of 51 (17) years (54% female), only 10% reported being very familiar with cochlear implants, and 31% of those with hearing difficulty reported that they have “never heard” of a cochlear implant. Females were statistically significantly more likely to report some degree of familiarity with cochlear implants than men (34 vs. 26%; p < 0.01). The greatest familiarity with cochlear implants was observed among those aged 35 to 44 years (18% reporting “very familiar”), whereas only 9% of those aged 65 to 74, 10% aged 75 to 84, and 8% ≥85 reported being very familiar (p < 0.01). Those identifying as White/Caucasian were statistically significantly more likely to report familiarity with cochlear implants than those identifying as Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino/Spanish (33 vs. 56 vs. 50% responding that they had “never heard” of cochlear implants; p < 0.01). Among adults with hearing difficulty, nearly 80% report having never talked with a medical or hearing care professional about cochlear implants. Limited cochlear implant awareness likely influences its widespread underutilization across the United States. Sex, age, and race disparities compound these issues among men, the Medicare-aged population, and those identifying as Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino/Spanish.

Publication History

Article published online:
01 December 2022

© 2022. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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