Trust backs trial into treatment for severe hearing loss

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is to support a national study into the best treatment options for adults living with severe hearing loss.

consultant ENT and skull base surgeon, Mr James Tysome

The study will focus on patients with hearing loss greater than 65 decibels and aims to establish which device is most effective for them, hearing aids or cochlear implants which electronically stimulate an auditory nerve in the inner ear.

The research – called the COACH study - is the first study set up to answer this question and could change the way patients in the UK and around the world are treated.

Patients taking part in the study are those with hearing test results and speech understanding scores that fall just outside the range where they would be eligible to receive a cochlear implant on the NHS.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of nine Trusts across England and Wales – and the only one in this region - supporting the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Nottingham in the research.

Although it is being independently run by NHS doctors, audiologists and university researchers, it is funded by a global manufacturer of implantable hearing devices called Cochlear Ltd.

Severe hearing loss affects over a million people in the UK and by 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide will experience some degree of hearing loss. Untreated, it can affect education, employment, quality of life and cause cognitive decline.

In Cambridge the study will be led by consultant ENT and skull base surgeon, Mr James Tysome (pictured), a member of the NICE Interventional Procedures Advisory Committee.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted that CUH has been selected to support this innovative study that addresses the important question about who can benefit from cochlear implants. The results could help better inform the treatment of patients with severe deafness in the UK and around the world.”

Hospitals taking part in COACH, which is short for COmpAring Cochlear implants with Hearing aids, are:

  • Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

  • Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

  • St George’s Hospital NHS Trust

  • University College London NHS Foundation Trust

  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

To find out more about taking part visit

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