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appraisal committee listened to stakeholder concerns regarding the eligibility criteria for cochlear implants being out of date.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.
ATR: A preliminary request for responses to this sent to the 7 Welsh trusts has so far remained negative, in that at least 3 of them have no plans for more implantations, and indeed are providing less of them due to severe cuts in funding provision. Readers should also take into account the 4 regions of the UK operate independently re their provision to each other, so could well mean getting a CI depends on where you live.