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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 501738, 12 pages
Research Article

Cochlear Implant Programming: A Global Survey on the State of the Art

1The Eargroup, Herentalsebaan 75, 2100 Antwerp-Deurne, Belgium
2Laboratory of Biomedical Physics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp-Deurne, Belgium
3VU University Medical Center, 1081 HZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4Hôpital Sacré Cœur, Beirut B.P.116, Lebanon
5Yorkshire CI Service, Bradford BD9 5HU, UK
6University Hospital Saint-Luc, 1200 Brussels, Belgium
7Emmeline Centre, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK
8University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA
9University Medical Center Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
10CHU de Grenoble, 38701 Grenoble, France
11Medizinische Hochschule, 30625 Hannover, Germany
12University of Medicine and Pharmacy Grigore T. Popa, 95060 Iasi, Romania
13Meders Hearing and Speech Center, Istanbul, Turkey
14University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, MO 66160, USA
15Dr Manoj’s ENT Superspeciality Institute & Research Centre, Calicut, Kerala 673005, India
16LUMC, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
17Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, London WC1X 8EE, UK
18University Hospital, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
19Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia
20PD Hinduja Hospital National and MRC, Mumbai 400016, India
21UMC St. Radboud, 6525 GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
22Nottingham Auditory Implant Programme, Nottingham NG1 5DU, UK
23University Hospital, 27 Oslo, Norway
24Hôpital Rothschild, 75012 Paris, France
25Hôpital Beaujon, Paris, France
26Medical Audiology Services, Perth, WA 6005, Australia
27University Sapienza, 185 Rome, Italy
28South of England CI Centre, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
29Sunnybrook, Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5
30World Hearing Center, 02-042 Warsaw, Poland
31NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY 10016, USA

Received 18 August 2013; Accepted 20 November 2013; Published 4 February 2014

Academic Editors: E. Truy and A. J. Yonkers

Copyright © 2014 Bart Vaerenberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The programming of CIs is essential for good performance. However, no Good Clinical Practice guidelines exist. This paper reports on the results of an inventory of the current practice worldwide. A questionnaire was distributed to 47 CI centers. They follow 47600 recipients in 17 countries and 5 continents. The results were discussed during a debate. Sixty-two percent of the results were verified through individual interviews during the following months. Most centers (72%) participated in a cross-sectional study logging 5 consecutive fitting sessions in 5 different recipients. Data indicate that general practice starts with a single switch-on session, followed by three monthly sessions, three quarterly sessions, and then annual sessions, all containing one hour of programming and testing. The main focus lies on setting maximum and, to a lesser extent, minimum current levels per electrode. These levels are often determined on a few electrodes and then extrapolated. They are mainly based on subjective loudness perception by the CI user and, to a lesser extent, on pure tone and speech audiometry. Objective measures play a small role as indication of the global MAP profile. Other MAP parameters are rarely modified. Measurable targets are only defined for pure tone audiometry. Huge variation exists between centers on all aspects of the fitting practice.