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appraisal committee listened to stakeholder concerns regarding the eligibility criteria for cochlear implants being out of date.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.
I have already approached the Minister in Wales because 3 initial responses from Welsh NHS trusts have said it is not going to happen because there are no funds available for it. Indeed less CI implantation is going to happen for the same reason. There is also confusion this NICE statement didn't apply outside England too.