Guidelines for referral of cochlear implant patients


USAIS requires a referral from Ear, Nose and Throat or Audiology professionals.  The referral will be checked by a locality team lead within USAIS and if deemed to be an appropriate referral (i.e. appears to meet NICE guidelines) then the referral will be processed.

If you would like to refer a patient, please contact:

Helen Wilkinson-Tough
Auditory Implant Service
University of Southampton
Building 19
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ


If possible please complete the form below and send it post or by email.  For patient confidentiality we are happy to accept password protected documents if you can let us have the password in a separate email. Alternatively if you have access to an account our address is: but please send an email to to let us know you have sent it.

Cochlear Implant Referral Form


USAIS is an all-age Centre accepting referrals for children, teenagers and adults.  Referrals for young children should be made as soon as possible following diagnosis. Children are usually implanted around the age of one year.  

Audiometric Guidelines

Suitable candidates will demonstrate limited benefit following a reasonable trial with appropriate hearing aids.  As a guideline, hearing loss should be severe to profound.  Unaided levels averaged at 2 and 4 kHZ should be ≥90dB HL. We will consider referrals for patients with thresholds at 85dB HL at 2 or 4KHz if there is evidence of a progressive loss. For adults speech perception test scores should be in the region of <50-60%  at 65 dB(A) or worse.

Radiology and Electrophysiological Tests

All patients will receive a CT Scan on the basis that patients possessing retro-cochlear pathologies or cerebral defects may be excluded.  Most patients will have an MRI at the same time. The Centre prefers to carry out the necessary electrophysiological and radiological assessments in Southampton.

Fitness for Surgery

All patients referred should be fit for general anaesthesia.  Patients with chronic active ear disease are not normally accepted until this has been adequately treated.


Patients will not be excluded on grounds of aetiology other than in respect of criteria covered herein.

Psychological State

Patients should be considered psychologically stable in order to participate in the rehabilitation programme.

Other disabilities

No other disability in and of itself will constitute grounds for exclusion.  Patients must be capable, however, of being able to participate and benefit from rehabilitation and evaluation.

Duration of deafness

Referrals are accepted for patients with congenital, acquired and progressive hearing losses.  Patients will not be implanted sooner than 6 months after the onset of deafness. Duration of profound deafness of greater than 40 years is usually considered a contra-indication for cochlear implantation.


For children and teenagers there needs to be strong, committed support from both parents and local professionals as they will be expected take an integral part in the programme.  Post-implant support will need to focus on developing children’s listening and oral communication skills.  For adults, local support is highly desirable but there is no absolute requirement.


NHS England (Wessex) will pay for the cost of the assessment and implant. Details of current costs are available and are updated annually. The centre will arrange for long term monitoring and maintenance of equipment; the cost of this will also be charged NHS England (Wessex).

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