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Date: 25 September 2020

Time: 02:17

Implant questions and answers

Is an implant safe?

Cochlear implants in adults have been available in the UK for twenty years. World wide there are tens of thousands of successful cochlear implant users. As with any operation performed under a general anaesthetic, there are some risks and your ENT consultant will discuss these fully with you.

Normal use of a hearing implant carries no health risks. Moreover, the reliability of implants is very high, even after many years. Implant users can participate in a normal active life, with minimal modifications to their lifestyle. Your Audiologist will discuss with you those precautions necessary to minimise any potential risks.

Further information on the safety of cochlear implants can be found in the British Cochlear Implant Group (BCIG) safety guidelines, available in the external link box below.

Is an implant right for me?

Your GP, ENT consultant or local Audiology Centre has referred you to our programme. Our team will evaluate and assess the right treatment for you, based on your own individual needs.

We meet national guidelines for selection criteria as published in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Health Technology Appraisal of Cochlear implants, published in January 2009. More information is available in the external link box at the bottom of this page.

Typically, the patients we see in the cochlear implant clinic:

  • have a severe to profound sensorineural (i.e. permanent) hearing loss in both ears
  • obtain little benefit from conventional high-powered hearing aids
  • are committed and well motivated
  • have no medical reasons to prevent surgery
  • are aged 16 and over – we do not have an upper age limit

Children under 16 are seen by the paediatric service at Aston University Day Hospital, part of Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and transfer to our care through our Young Person's programme.

For more information about candidacy and selection as specified by NICE, please see the external link box below.

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University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is not responsible for the contents or the reliability of external websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Listing should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that links to other websites will work all of the time, and we have no control over the availability of external web pages.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Audiology Centre has achieved national accreditation with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Accreditation number: IQIPS 7978.

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