Madrid (EFE).- Only one in ten people with hearing problems who could benefit from a cochlear implant have information about this high-tech device that is placed through surgery to replace the function of the damaged inner ear.
According to the data provided this Tuesday in the Congress of Deputies at the presentation of the “White Paper on cochlear implants in adults and the elderly”, in Spain it is estimated that only 5.7% of adult candidates have access to this mechanism that can reach to change the lives of those who wear it.
These devices are covered by public health and represent an incredible life change for the people who use them, and they are implanted through surgery that is only proposed in those cases in which the use of hearing aids is no longer enough to have a conversation.
“For those of us who are deaf, it means coming back to life again,” explained José Luis Iñiguez, a cochlear implant recipient, at a conference in which various organizations related to deafness have presented the White Paper on Cochlear Implants.
Both he and Mar Navarro, another implantee, have explained their experience with this treatment, which has allowed her to lead a practically normal life and put an end to dynamics of isolation or difficulty in the personal and family sphere.
The lack of information about the cochlear implant
The number of users of this implant is much lower than would be desirable: of the more than 267,000 people with profound hearing loss, less than 10% receive information. It is estimated that the approximate number of people who have it worldwide is one million, in Europe around 500,000 and in Spain around 22,000.
Another of the reasons that influence the limited use of cochlear implants is insufficient public resources. Some resources that are difficult to increase due to the health cuts that exist in many autonomous communities, in which there is a lack of homogeneity in the application of criteria for the selection of patients who should receive them.
In addition, there are also those who do not know or do not accept that they have hearing problems and do not even remedy it with the use of hearing aids, because recognizing that one does not hear well is stigmatizing and also a sign of old age that a part of society prefers not to accept. .
The price, one more obstacle
On other occasions, the difficulty of remedying hearing problems is also economic, because each hearing aid costs between 2,000 and 3,000 euros and in Spain, unlike other European countries, hearing aids are not subsidized.
However, not remedying it can cause depression, loneliness and social isolation, as well as difficulties in the work and educational environment.
The experts Carlos Cenjor, president of the Scientific Committee of Gaes Médica; Manuel Bernal Sprekelsen, president of SEORL-CCC, José Luis Aedo, president of Fiapas, and Joan Zamora, president of the AICE Federation, spoke at this event on the occasion of World Cochlear Implant Day, which is celebrated on February 25 and which Joan Ruiz, president of the Commission for Social Rights and Comprehensive Disability Policies, closed the session.