Social Media Depictions of Cochlear Implants: An Instagram and TikTok Analysis

Nicholas A. Rossi, Karthik Devarajan, Shivan N. Chokshi, Vanesa J. Ochoa, Mia Benavidez, Lauren T. Malaya, Jason F. Ohlstein, Dayton L. Young, Brian J. McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To identify populations of authors who post about cochlear implants (CIs) on Instagram and TikTok, to illustrate the content of these posts, and to elucidate factors that might help surgeons better educate CI patients. Study Design Qualitative study. Setting Instagram and TikTok social media platforms. Patients All public social media posts identified with the search terms below. Posts were excluded if unrelated to CIs or if written in a non-English language. Intervention Instagram and TikTok were searched for posts from March 2021 through September 2021 with the search terms #cochlearimplant, #cochlearimplants, #cochlearimplantkids, #cochlearkids, and #cochlearfamily. Main Outcome Measures Posts were subclassified and analyzed for content including topics of posts, authorship, timeframe of posts, depiction of CIs, and popularity. Results Of 1,942 posts included in the final analysis, 1,400 were found on Instagram and 542 on TikTok. Authors were mostly patients (n = 771, 39.7%), companies (n = 568, 29.2%), and patients' family members (n = 482, 24.8%). Only 21 posts were made by physicians (1.1%). Out of 379 total educational posts examined, patients themselves were the most common authors (n = 219, 57.8%) followed by patients' family members (n = 139, 36.7%). Physicians authored only a small fraction of all educational posts (n = 19, 5.0%). Conclusions This study showed minimal physician involvement in the CI social media spheres of Instagram and TikTok. In addition, there were few educational posts on either platform, revealing ample opportunity for physicians to become more involved with CI social media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E13-E21
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Cochlear implantation
  • Cochlear implants
  • Communications media
  • Otolaryngologists
  • Perception
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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