Apparently, “the world’s first study to establish the best treatment options for adults with severe hearing loss” has been launched at University College London Hospitals (UCLH). An article detailing the study appears on the UCLH website.
Researchers in the COACH study (comparing cochlear implantation to hearing aids in adults with severe hearing loss) will seek to determine which is better for this group of patients – hearing aids or a cochlear implant.
COACH, sponsored by the University of Nottingham, is “the first global study set up to try to answer this question and could change the way patients are treated in the UK and around the world”, according to the announcement. .
Severe hearing loss affects over one million people in the UK. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide will experience some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation. If left untreated, hearing loss can negatively affect education, employment and quality of life and can increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The group of patients included in this research are those whose hearing test results and speech comprehension scores fall just outside the range where they would be eligible to receive a cochlear implant on the NHS.
Professor Shakeel Saeed, principal investigator of the study at UCLH, said: “This landmark study will seek to answer an important question about who can benefit from cochlear implants. As the first study in the world to do so, it could have a huge impact on the treatment of patients around the world. An important part of the trial is the fact that it was designed and developed alongside patients with severe hearing loss.
Doug Hartley, Professor of Otology at the University of Nottingham and Consultant ENT Surgeon at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘This is a great example of the UK and our national health service being at the forefront of care of conducting clinical trials to improve the lives of people with hearing loss, here at home and around the world. »
The costs of the trial are funded by Cochlear Ltd, a global manufacturer of implantable hearing aids. The company is not involved in the delivery of the trial.
A group of patient research partners will advise researchers throughout the trial on things like when and how to approach people who may want to participate and what kind of information people will need and want to hear. before participating.