04 January 2019

Hundreds more children and adults eligible for cochlear implants on the NHS

Hundreds more people with severe to profound deafness are expected to be eligible for cochlear implants each year, due to updated NICE guidance.

The update comes after a review of the definition of severe to profound deafness which is used to identify if a cochlear implant might be appropriate.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Technology Evaluation, said: “The appraisal committee listened to stakeholder concerns regarding the eligibility criteria for cochlear implants being out of date. Upon review it was concluded this needed to be updated.

“The new eligibility criteria for cochlear implants will ensure that they continue to be available on the NHS to those individuals who will benefit from them the most.”

Severe to profound deafness is now recognised as only hearing sounds louder than 80dB HL at 2 or more frequencies without hearing aids, a lowering of the previous threshold.

A cochlear implant works by picking up sounds which are turned into electrical signals and are sent to the brain. This provides a sensation of hearing, but does not restore hearing.

With the right support, deaf children can achieve anything in life. NICE is going a long way towards making that promise a reality for all those children who can benefit from this technology.

Vicki Kirwin, children’s audiologist at the National Deaf Children’s Society

The new eligibility criteria for cochlear implants will ensure that they continue to be available on the NHS to those individuals who will benefit from them the most.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Technology Evaluation