Cochlear Implant Guidance has been updated by NICE

Posted by 616 on March 9, 2019

Cochlear Implant Guidance has been updated by NICE

March 09, 2019 at 2:48 PM




The British Academy of Audiology (BAA), the British Society of Audiology (BSA), the British Cochlear Implant Group (BCIG), and Cochlear, the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, have joined together to welcome the news as a positive change following concerted campaigning from the hearing care community and healthcare professionals.
Details can be found:

  •  For the purposes of this guidance: severe to profound deafness is defined as hearing only sounds that are equal to or louder than 80 dB HL without acoustic hearing aids
  • Testing assessment for adults: a phoneme score of 50% or less (Arthur Boothroyd word test)


Mr Richard Irving, Consultant ENT Surgeon, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust adds, ”It has long been felt that the UK has the most conservative criteria for determining who is eligible for a cochlear implant – meaning a significant portion of the population that could benefit from the device have been unable to access it. The UK has been out of step with other countries with more relaxed criteria such as Japan, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Australia, where healthcare professionals have more flexibility. There has been growing concern that people could unnecessarily be suffering negative emotional and physical consequences from hearing loss and — for those for whom this is an appropriate solution — missing out on a short surgical procedure could have a major impact on their quality of life.”

In a report published in 2014, the King’s Fund  said that adequately addressing hearing loss can improve an individual’s independence, well-being and social engagement. Fewer than 7% of adults who could benefit from a cochlear implant actually have one.

Action on Hearing Loss, a UK charity, has estimated that over 900,000 people in the UK have severe or profound hearing loss and that on average, people wait up to 10 years to seek help.

Stuart Thomas, General Manager, U.K. Ireland & South Africa, Cochlear Europe Ltd, says, “We are committed to improving the lives of people living with hearing loss through extensive research, development and constant innovation. Therefore, this announcement is very positive and welcomed news. We want as many people as possible to benefit from this change, so that more people can reach their potential and lead full and connected lives.”

Sue Falkingham, President of the British Academy of Audiology, says: “It is vital that people with hearing loss can access a full range of treatments and are able to make an informed choice about what is right for them. For many people hearing aids are the best option; but for the right people a cochlear implant is more appropriate.”

Elizabeth Midgley from the British Society of Audiology, says: “This change will mean more children and adults will benefit from this amazing technology. The priority now is to educate and support healthcare professionals in identifying who are the right people to put forward. These implants can greatly improve people’s lives.”

Tracey Twomey, Chair of the British Cochlear Implant Group and a Consultant Clinical Scientist (Audiology) says: “This is a fabulous development and so good for our patients. For too long we have had to turn people away who may have benefited from an implant because they didn’t fit the previous NICE criteria.”

Mr David Selvadurai, Consultant Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon at St George’s Hospital, London, says: “I see people every week that could benefit from a cochlear implant but have been outside of the previous NICE guidance. These individuals can now have a simple surgical procedure that is genuinely life changing.” “Many people don’t seem to be aware how much better they could be with a cochlear implant, how safe and straightforward the surgery now is and the huge range of potential benefits they might enjoy,” Mr Selvadurai continued. “Cochlear implants allow adults to re-enter many social situations, feel safer in the outside world and for many, offer the possibility of talking to friends and family over the telephone. This change of criteria will make a real impact on the kind of care we can deliver to many of our patients.”