The number of patients treated with a cochlear implant annually in Germany is now around 3,500 - and the trend is rising. Here at the Medical University in Hanover alone, around 500 patients with severe hearing loss or deafness are treated with a cochlear implant every year. However, many of them would like to provide follow-up care at their home locations - without sacrificing the competence of the supplying clinic. This resulted in the CI remote adaptation "Remote Care". Patients can have a strictly quality-assured cochlear implant adaptation performed remotely by a resident ENT doctor in their home country.
A technology from the company auric Hörsysteme from Rheine is used. For CI remote adaptation, auric provides a system for real-time remote adaptation with high-resolution video image that was newly developed with the German Hearing Center Hanover. The PC on the side of the audiologist is equipped with two monitors, the patient has a screen on which the matching audiologist can be seen in the video image for the patient. Communication is possible via microphone and free-field loudspeakers or head sets. A chat function via keyboard is also available for communication difficulties.
Technically trained personnel are available on the patient side to connect the speech processor to the remote adaptation system and to assist with the adaptation. The adjustment is carried out by an experienced audiologist, usually by employees of the German Hearing Center Hanover. Due to the fast response time and the high image and sound quality of the remote adjustment system, the adjustment almost seems to the patient as if he were sitting opposite the audiologist. Even for the audiologist, the operation of the setting software "feels" completely normal.
Once the setting is complete, the familiar hearing tests follow. The test environment in the ENT practice complies with the specifications of the DHZ, so that comparability with previous test results is possible without any problems. At the end of the session, the test data is automatically sent to the central database in the DHZ, so that complete documentation and monitoring of the patient's hearing performance is possible. In this way, the database can even independently recognize unexpected bad results and suggest a more detailed investigation of the cause in Hanover. The necessary ENT care of the patients is ensured by the registered ENT doctors participating in the network.
A prerequisite for the patient is a CI hearing experience of at least three years, only then can the attitude be as stable as possible. We still recommend that patients with less hearing experience visit the clinic. Likewise, patients who would like to be looked after on site at the DHZ in the future can of course continue to come to the DHZ. The initial adjustment phase remains for all patients implanted at the MHH in the German Hearing Center Hanover. The necessary, closely interlinked processes between daily adjustment, therapy and medical control over a period of five days can only be realized by an experienced and well-rehearsed interdisciplinary team taking into account all the data available from the patient and cannot be outsourced under any circumstances.