North East Cochlear Implant Programme (NECIP)

The North East Regional Cochlear Implant Programme is one of the longest standing programmes in the country. The first adult was implanted in 1990 and first child in 1992.

The programme currently uses two devices; Cochlear Nucleus and Advanced Bionics. Since it started in 1990, the programme has implanted over 300 patients, with approximately equal numbers of adults and children.

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a highly specialised type of hearing aid which may be suitable for profoundly deaf patients. It is a two part device; a surgically implanted electrode array which stimulates the auditory nerve, and an external unit which processes sounds and controls the implant.

Where the programme is located?

The programme is based at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. Audiology assessments and rehabilitation occurs mainly James Cook , but also at other NHS hospitals in the North East region. Surgery takes place at both James Cook and at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. For children, specialist speech and language, and educational assessments and therapy typically take place at the child’s home and/or school.

Area we cover

The main areas covered are North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, North Tees, Hartlepool, County Durham, Sunderland, Newcastle and Northumberland. However, we are able to take referrals from any area. It is important that professionals and patients consider the travelling time and cost when deciding on which implant centre to refer to.

Team members

The team comprises of ENT surgeons, audiologists, speech and language therapists, hearing therapists, teachers of the deaf, a family support officer plus administrative support. Each patient is allocated a key worker to act as the primary point of contact within the programme; for both the patient/family and for professionals.

Case study

Little Megan McCourt was the first person in the country to have a new type of cochlear implant fitted – click here to read Megan’s story