A NICE change, but what does it mean?

The expansion of eligibility criteria means many more children and adults across the UK will have access to a cochlear implant, this is certainly news to celebrate!

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is a national body who’s role is to improve health and public wellbeing by providing independent guidance on healthcare.

A recent review by NICE of cochlear implants for adults and children with severe to profound hearing loss has resulted in updated guidance. This means that many more people will be able to benefit from this life changing technology within the NHS.

The threshold for eligibility has been reduced to equal or greater than 80 dB HL (decibels hearing level) at two or more frequencies without the use of hearing aids, this is down from 90 dB HL for children and adults.

This important change follows concerted campaigning from the hearing-impaired community, healthcare professionals, Cochlear and key groups including the British Academy of Audiology (BAA), the British Society of Audiology (BSA) and the British Cochlear Implant Group (BCIG).

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. This change of criteria will make a real impact on the kind of care we can deliver to many of our patients.”

Public insight and expertise is fundamental to the development of all NICE guidance, to ensure that the advice it provides is relevant to the people that matter. Your voice has a significant part to play in the shaping of public policy. Nucleus 7 recipient and Cochlear volunteer, Diane, spent many years campaigning for change to cochlear implant criteria in the UK. 

Diane and her daughter, Florence

“I’m thrilled about the changes to the NICE guidelines on Cochlear Implants. Under the old guidelines patients could be left on the border for so long it was soul destroying. Many more people will benefit at an earlier stage in their hearing loss, which I hope will allow them to live their lives to the fullest. With the change to 80dB and the option of the Hybrid N7 it also means they get the best of both worlds, utilising what residual hearing they have.”

Do you know someone with hearing loss? Are they finding hearing aids are no longer helping? They could benefit from a hearing implant. We have FREE information sessions happening across the country, email hearnow@cochlear.com to find out more.

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