The Advances in Hearing Rehabilitation and Cochlear Implants in China
Hearing loss (HL) is a common sensory impairment in humans, with significant economic and social impacts. With nearly 20% of the world’s population, China has focused on economic development and health awareness to improve the care for its hearing-impaired population. Recently, the Chinese government has initiated national programs such as the China Disabled Persons Federation to fund prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing impairment. Newborn hearing screening and auditory rehabilitation programs in China have expanded exponentially with government support. While facing many challenges and overcoming obstacles, cochlear implantation (CI) programs in China have also experienced considerable growth. This review discusses the implementation of CI programs for HL in China and presents current HL data including epidemiology, newborn hearing screening, and determination of genetic etiologies. Sharing the experience in Chinese auditory rehabilitation and CI programs will shine a light on the developmental pathway of healthcare infrastructure to meet emerging needs of the hearing-impaired population in other developing countries.