Because of the coronavirus outbreak hospital visits for hearing impaired people with a cochlear implant can no longer take place leading to a disruption in the rehabilitation process significantly affecting the outcome.

Persons with profound-to-severe hearing loss, often the elderly, where hearing aids are insufficient are eligible for a cochlear implant (CI). Without CI, spoken communication is no longer possible for this group with major (psycho-) social consequences, such as loneliness.

The CI is placed by an ENT surgeon, after which an intensive rehabilitation period begins. During this rehabilitation period, the patient usually comes to the hospital at least 10 times within a 3-month period. During hospital visits, hearing training takes place, speech recognition tests are taken to monitor progress, and the CI settings are adjusted at times. Because of the Coronavirus outbreak, these visits can no longer take place leading to a disruption in the rehabilitation process significantly affecting the outcome.

The aim of this initiative is to launch a universal web-based application with which we offer all CI teams in the Netherlands the opportunity to test their patients at home. We use the knowledge and expertise we have gained during a previously conducted research project ( and the knowledge and existing web-based application developed by hearX.

HearX is a company that develops digital hearing care solutions and was founded by Prof. Swanepoel from the University of Pretoria. Our group has many years of research collaboration with Prof. Swanepoel and last year at the request of the World Health Organization WHO, we jointly developed an app for hearing screening (hearWHO app).

APH contact person: Cas Smits:

Projectteam Cas Smits, klinisch fysicus – audioloog

dr. Paul Merkus, KNO arts

prof. Sophia Kramer, University Research Chair in Auditory Functioning and Participation

Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Ear & Hearing,
Amsterdam Public Health research institute, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Prof. De Wet Swanepoel

Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.

This is an initiative taken by APH researchers as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have an initiative to be listed as well, please email us:

See all APH COVID-19 initiatives