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Once your referral has been accepted, we will begin your assessment journey.

Initial assessment

The assessment process involves several appointments. The first assessment appointment will take two to three hours.

Please ensure you bring your / your child's current hearing aids, and a list of any current medications being taken, to this appointment.

We will send you a questionnaire with your appointment letter, so we will have some information about you or your child and the other professionals involved.

During your first visit to the Auditory Implant Programme, we will ask questions about your / your child's hearing loss and carry out some assessments, some of which you / your child will have had before, as well as some additional tests.

We will need to assess your / your child's hearing, both with and without hearing aids. This appointment is also an opportunity for you to find out more about Cochlear Implants and discuss your expectations and goals.

We will explain the assessment process, how a Cochlear Implant works, and the rehabilitation process (how you learn to listen with the Cochlear Implant). We will also show you what a Cochlear Implant looks like and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

We are happy to meet any family members or friends you would like to bring to the assessment.

Our team comprises:

  • Audiologists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Educational Audiologists
  • ENT Consultants
  • Specialist Nurses.

You will meet our Audiologists and a Speech and Language Therapist at the initial assessment.

Speech and Language Therapy

We will take a full history of your / your child's deafness and other relevant factors. If you / they are taking any medication or have a medical condition it is important for us to know about this.

The Speech and Language Therapist will assess you / your child's communication ability with speech, language and listening tests. You may be asked to complete some questionnaires.

If you would like to meet other adults, or families of children, with Cochlear Implants, we will try to arrange this.

Next steps

If initial results indicate that a Cochlear Implant may be appropriate for you / your child, and you decide you would like to proceed, we may refer you / your child for scans to be carried out.

There could be a CT scan to look at the inner ear and see if the cochlea is suitable for electrode insertion. We may also request an MRI scan to look at the soft tissue in the head and specifically the nerve of hearing.

If a child is young, and unlikely to lie still for scans, these may need to be done under a general anaesthetic. An appointment will be booked for another day, not the same day as the assessment.

To be a candidate for a Cochlear Implant, patients must meet criteria set out in the national NICE guidance.

At the end of the assessment process, our team will meet to discuss whether you / your child would benefit from cochlear implantation.

We may need to invite you / your child for further testing or refer you / your child for an opinion from other professionals. We will write to you and keep you informed at all stages.

Surgery options

Once we have all the information we need, we will send you another appointment to meet the surgeon so that the final decision regarding implantation can be discussed, and any further questions answered.

At this point the surgeon will discuss whether one or both ears will be implanted. Funding at a national level is only available for one Cochlear Implant for most adults.

For children, funding is available for both sides, and is generally recommended.

If a unilateral Cochlear Implant (on one side) is decided upon, the surgeon will discuss with you which ear will be the best to implant.

On that day we may be able to give you a date for the surgery, or at least give you an indication of when it may be. We will also be able to discuss the different Cochlear Implant devices available and give you an opportunity to look at the devices. Unless there is a clinical reason why one device should be used, the choice of device and colours is up to you.

If, after the assessment process, we think cochlear implantation is not likely to benefit you / your child, we will try to let you know on the day, or we will write to you and let you know the reasons why. We can arrange to meet you again and discuss the outcome if you wish.

Occasionally we may ask for your hearing aids to be reviewed / updated if we feel they could be providing more benefit. We will then assess you again after this is complete.

Last reviewed:01 August 2023