OBJECTIVE: Cochlear implant (CI) treatment was introduced to the world in the 1980s and has become a routine treatment for congenital or acquired severe-to-profound hearing loss. CI treatment requires access to a highly skilled team of ear, nose and throat specialists, audiologists and speech-language pathologists for evaluation, surgery and rehabilitation. In particular, children treated with CI are in need of long-term post-operative auditory training and other follow-up support. DESIGN: The study is retrospective with updated information on present performance. RESULTS: Since 2001, a total of 11 Greenlandic patients living in Greenland have been treated with CI, 7 children and 4 adults. Of these children, 4 use oral communication only and are full-time CI-users, 2 with full-time use of CI are still in progress with use of oral communication, and 1 has not acquired oral language yet, but has started auditory and speech training. Six children attend mainstream public school while one child is in kindergarten. Of the adults, only 1 has achieved good speech perception with full-time use of CI while 3 do not use the CI. DISCUSSION: From an epidemiological point of view, approximately 1-3 children below 6 years are in need of a CI every second year in Greenland often due to sequelae from meningitis, which may cause postinfectious deafness. Screening of new-borns for hearing has been started in Greenland establishing the basis for early diagnosis of congenital hearing impairment and subsequent intervention. The logistics and lack of availability of speech therapists in Greenland hampers possibilities for optimal language and speech therapy of CI patients in Greenland. This study aims at describing the results of CI treatment in Greenlanders and the outcome of the CI operations along with the auditory and speech/language outcomes. Finally, we present a suggestion for the future CI treatment and recommendations for an increased effort in the treatment and rehabilitation of implanted patients in Greenland.
International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 2013, Vol 72