The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has updated its guidance on cochlear implants for children and adults, making hundreds more individuals with 'severe to profound deafness' to become eligible for cochlear implants on the NHS each year.
In the updated guidance, 'severe to profound deafness' is now recognised as only hearing sounds louder than 80 dB HL at ≥2 frequencies with no assistance of hearing aids. This decision was made after the appraisal committee addressed the concerns from stakeholders regarding the eligibility criteria of cochlear implants being outdated. Following a thorough review, the committee decided that it was necessary to update the criteria.
As of now, ~1260 individuals receive cochlear implants annually in England. With the updated recommendations, this figure is expected to rise to 2150 individuals/year by 2024-2025, which translates to a 70% increase.
Meindert Boysen, Director of the Centre for Technology Evaluation said: "The new eligibility criteria for cochlear implants will ensure that they continue to be available on the NHS to those individuals who will benefit from them the most."