Information for the public

A cochlear implant in 1 ear is available on the NHS as a possible option for people who are severely or profoundly deaf if they do not get enough benefit from hearing aids.

Cochlear implants in both ears are available on the NHS as a possible option for children, and for adults who are blind or have other disabilities which mean that they depend on their hearing for spatial awareness, only if:

  • they are severely or profoundly deaf
  • they do not get enough benefit from hearing aids
  • the implants are placed during the same operation.

The definitions of severe to profound deafness and of benefit from hearing aids have been updated in the guidance in line with clinical practice. See the guidance or ask your doctor for more information.

An assessment should be done to find out if having an implant would help. This should include trying a hearing aid for at least 3 months, if the person can have one. The assessment should take into account any disabilities or difficulties in communicating the person has, which might mean that the usual hearing tests are not suitable.

Is this treatment right for me?

Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. Read more about making decisions about your care.

Questions to think about

  • How well does it work compared with other treatments?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • How will the treatment affect my day-to-day life?
  • What happens if the treatment does not work?
  • What happens if I do not want to have treatment? Are there other treatments available?

Information and support

These organisations can give you advice and support:

You can also get support from your local Healthwatch.

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-3253-5

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