We are delighted to announce that today the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has updated their guidance and announced a change in eligibility which means that hundreds more people will be able to receive a cochlear implant.
The revisions to the guidance are as follows:
For the purposes of this guidance, severe to profound deafness is defined as hearing only sounds that are louder than 80 dB HL (pure-tone audiometric threshold equal to or greater than 80 dB HL) at 2 or more frequencies (500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, 2,000 Hz, 3,000 Hz and 4,000 Hz) bilaterally without acoustic hearing aids. Adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids is defined for this guidance as:
- for adults, a phoneme score of 50% or greater on the Arthur Boothroyd word test presented at 70 dBA
- for children, speech, language and listening skills appropriate to age, developmental stage and cognitive ability.
We have worked very hard to improve access to cochlear implants, working with patients, clinical cochlear implant centres, the Candidacy Working Group, the Action Group on Adult Cochlear Implants, and other organisations. We are delighted that many more people will now receive this life-changing treatment. Currently the UK is lagging behind many other countries in terms of access to cochlear implants; we hope that this candidacy change will improve the situation.
Anyone with severe to profound deafness who cannot gain enough benefit from hearing aids can ask their GP, Audiologist or ENT doctor to see if a referral to a cochlear implant centre is appropriate.