Cochlear Implantation in the Active Duty Military Population: A Survey Assessing Military Readiness and Satisfaction

John M Sommerfeldt, Jakob L Fischer, Danielle A Morrison, Elicia Pillion, Joshua Bernstein, Anthony M Tolisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the impact of cochlear implantation (CI) on retention for United States active duty (AD) service members.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective observational study.

SETTING: Tertiary military CI centers.

PATIENTS: AD service members who underwent CI and completed a telephonic survey.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The ability for military personnel to maintain AD status following CI as determined by the nonvolitional hearing-related AD separation rate and whether subjects would recommend CI to other qualified candidates.

RESULTS: Twenty AD service members who underwent CI between 2004 and 2020 completed a telephonic survey. Fifteen (75%) were single-sided deafness (SSD) and five were traditional CI candidates. The mean age was 40.3 years (range 27.5-64.3), 19 (95%) were male, and 12 (80%) were Caucasian. Ten (50%) were officers and 14 (70%) were noncombat support personnel. Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss was the most common cause of hearing loss (8, 40%) followed by occupational noise exposure (4, 20%). Sixteen (80%) maintained AD status yielding 46.15 person-years of AD service following CI. For SSD, 14 (93%) maintained AD status yielding 40.54 person-years of AD service. The nonvolitional hearing-related patient separation rate for CI recipients with bilateral hearing loss was 35.65 cases per 100 AD person-years and 0 cases per 100 person-years for SSD candidates. Nineteen (95%) stated they would recommend CI to other AD CI candidates.

CONCLUSIONS: The vast majority of AD CI recipients, and particularly those with SSD, are able to remain on AD after surgery and report a high degree of satisfaction with their implant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Adult
  • Cochlear Implantation
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Deafness/surgery
  • Hearing Loss, Unilateral/surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Speech Perception
  • Treatment Outcome


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