The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have announced a change to the guidelines that will allow hundreds more people to receive cochlear implantation on the NHS. The new guidelines come after a long period of work by professionals and cochlear implant users to make sure that new evidence about who benefits from cochlear implants was considered by NICE. Information on the changes in the guidelines can be found at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta566/chapter/1-Recommendations.
The changes are that people with hearing levels (without their hearing aids) of 80 decibel (dB) rather than 90 dB can now be considered for NHS-funded cochlear implantation. Also, the new guidance applies at “any two frequencies” in a wider range so that people with different patterns of hearing loss can be considered.
For adults, a different test of speech perception will be used to decide if they receive adequate benefit from their hearing aids-this will be a word-based speech listening test rather than a sentence-based listening test. The change in the guidelines is fantastic news as it means more people will be able to benefit from cochlear implantation than ever before.