Welcome to the North East Regional Cochlear Implant Programme
Now that you have been referred to the North East Regional Cochlear Implant Programme, you will need to have a range of assessments to see if you would benefit from a cochlear implant.
The appointments will be at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, or at other venues in the North East region.
What happens now?
You will be seen by a range of professionals which may include one of our Consultant ENT surgeons, an audiologist and an adult hearing rehabilitationist, all who specialise in working with cochlear implants. Each professional will be assessing different aspects to see whether you would be suitable for a cochlear implant.
After we have received your referral, you will be invited to attend your first appointment within six weeks. As patients are all individuals with different needs, the timescale of the assessment process and the order of the appointments may vary.
The cochlear implant assessment process requires commitment as you have to attend several appointments possibly at different locations within the North East region.
An audiologist on our team will need to assess your hearing loss and the benefit you are getting from your hearing aids. This may be completed in one appointment or may take several appointments. It is expected that you wear your hearing aids consistently before and during the assessment process.
Your keyworker will be an adult hearing rehabilitationist. They will talk to you about the assessment process, explain how a cochlear implant works and talk about your expectations and the limitations of a cochlear implant. They will also assess your lip-reading skills and general communication tactics.
You will receive questionnaires in the post prior to this appointment; you should complete these and bring them along to your appointment.
ENT consultant clinic appointments
If the initial assessments suggest you may benefit from a cochlear implant you will meet one of the consultant surgeons on our team. This is to check general fitness for surgery, take a medical history, and to refer you for a CT scan. This is to obtain information which will help to decide whether an implant might be possible and successful.
During the consultation you will be able to ask your own questions about the implant and the operation.
Some patients may be referred to other professionals outside the implant team for additional assessments such as psychology or cardiology. You will be advised if this is necessary.
In line with National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, eligible adults will be offered one implant only. If they have significant visual difficulties and are registered blind, they may be considered for two implants.
• Medical history
• Fitness for surgery
• CT scan
• Surgical procedure and risks
• History of hearing loss
• Hearing tests
• Balance test (as needed)
• Hearing aid check
• To discuss expectations and outcomes
• Offer support
Assessment complete – what next?
Once these assessments are completed the whole team meet to discuss your case and to decide whether or not you would benefit from a cochlear implant. If the decision is to offer an implant, you will be listed for surgery and you will be contacted when a date is booked.
Before your operation, you will meet with the surgeon who will take your consent and talk about the operation. You will also receive a preference appointment before the surgery date.
At this appointment you will be advised if there are any options you need to decide about such as the implant manufacturer, colour of the processor and any additional accessories.
We can also arrange for you to meet a cochlear implant user if you think that would be helpful. As with all of the appointments, you will be able to ask any questions about the implant and the operation.
The consent and preference appointments can be conducted by video call or face to face. You are advised that the venues for appointments before and after your operation may change and we do use venues throughout the North East region.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.