Over the years the guidelines for Cochlear Implant assessment have gradually changed. This is because experience has been gained as well as an in-depth understanding of the importance of assessment and selection. Plus both the hardware and the software associated with Cochlear Implants have improved with each generation.
These are our current guidelines – click here for Referral Guidelines for Cochlear Implant Assessment. The guidelines are to inform referrers and patients.
There are certain factors which must be considered before a patient is referred to the Service as a potential candidate for a cochlear implant. The following conditions will normally need to be met:
- Children and Adults should have a severe/profound bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss (see red shaded area on Audiogram above)
- Only adequate benefit is gained from appropriately fitted, high-powered aids
- Consistent hearing aid use is being actively sought
Other issues to consider are:
- Patients whose severe/profound hearing loss is a consequence of meningitis should be ‘fast tracked’ regardless of hearing aid use. This is to reduce the risk of cochlear inner ear bone growth. These patients will be prioritised throughout the assessment process.
- There is no minimum age for referral for children. Where Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing is used as the basis for referral or to provide additional information, this should be performed using tone pips and in line with national recommended procedures.
- There is no maximum age for referral for adults. They need to be medically fit for surgery and this will be checked during the assessment process.
- Children and adults with progressive hearing losses should be referred when hearing levels of 80-85 dBHL at 2 kHz and 4 kHz are reached in the better ear.
- Children and adults with additional needs should be referred and we will offer a service appropriate to their needs.
Who can refer?
Referrals can be received from Audiologists, General Practitioners, Paediatricians (children) and local ENT Consultants. Please phone the service to discuss if necessary.