We are very concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and our thoughts are with everyone affected; we thank healthcare workers for their dedication at this difficult time.
We appreciate that Trusts are being asked to suspend non-urgent surgeries in order to free up hospital beds for patients with the COVID-19 virus. While Trusts are currently risk-stratifying their operation schedule, we would like to remind them that cochlear implant surgery for a baby or young child is considered a neurolinguistic emergency. There is research demonstrating that delaying cochlear implant surgery in children has long-term implications for their speech, language and other functional outcomes.
In addition, those patients who have been deafened following meningitis are at risk for cochlear ossification (bone growth in the inner ear); this affects the outcomes with cochlear implants. They should also be treated as priority cases for cochlear implantation.
Professor Helen Cullington
Chair, British Cochlear Implant Group