Remote Care

Telemedicine for adults with cochlear implants in the UK: empowering patients to manage their own hearing healthcare

Around 1500 people receive a cochlear implant in the UK each year. Patients require lifelong annual follow-up at one of 18 specialist centres, which may be several hours away from their home.

At the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service, we want to make the cochlear implant care pathway person-centred and provide a more efficient service. We designed, and evaluated a long-term follow-up pathway offering remote self-monitoring, home device adjustment, and a personalised online intervention package for rehabilitation, troubleshooting and training at home.  We found that people using this pathway had a significant increase in their empowerment. 

We would like to spread these benefits to many more people using cochlear implants.  We think that using a remote care person-centred model instead of the usual clinic-centred model will provide better long-term outcomes to people with cochlear implants: higher empowerment, and more stable hearing.

The lead staff member in this is Dr Helen Cullington.


A team from University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service led by Helen Cullington has been selected by The Health Foundation, an independent charity, to be part of a £3.5 million improvement programme.

The Scaling Up Improvement programme supports seven projects in the UK to take their proven health care interventions and approaches and make them work at larger scale to have a positive impact on patient outcomes. 

The initiative from the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service will roll out successful telemedicine tools for adults with cochlear implants across the UK.

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A few relevant publications are listed below. For the full list click on the link above.

Cullington, H., Kitterick, P., Weal, M., & Margol-Gromada, M. (2018). Feasibility of personalised remote long-term follow-up of people with cochlear implants: a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 8(4), 1-11. [e019640]. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019640

Cullington, H. E. and T. Aidi (2017). “Is the digit triplet test an effective and acceptable way to assess speech recognition in adults using cochlear implants in a home environment?” Cochlear Implants Int: 1-9.

Cullington, H. E. and A. Agyemang-Prempeh (2017). “Person-centred cochlear implant care: Assessing the need for clinic intervention in adults with cochlear implants using a dual approach of an online speech recognition test and a questionnaire.” Cochlear Implants Int: 1-13.

Cullington, H. E., et al. (2016). Randomised controlled trial of remote care for adults with cochlear implants. British Cochlear Implant Group. London.

Cullington, H., et al. (2016). “Personalised long-term follow-up of cochlear implant patients using remote care, compared with those on the standard care pathway: study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial.” BMJ Open 6(5): e011342.