The assessment process is planned for each candidate on an individual basis. There can also be a slightly different approach depending on whether the patient is a child, teenager or adult. In each case both the candidate and their family / carers are involved at each step. However, when the candidate is a small child, we will work very closely together with the parents.
The process for children
Click on the links below for more information about each stage of the process for children:
The process for adults
Before the operation
Before the operation, the patient will have a range of tests and assessments in hearing and the impact of hearing loss, speech and language, radiology and also in psychology as appropriate. Patients will be given advice and support throughout the process. This will include meeting someone who already has a cochlear implant to talk about their experience.
Finally, an appointment will be made to see a surgeon together with one of the team members. The information from the assessment process is considered and they together advise whether a cochlear implant might be suitable in their case. The surgeon will explain the results of the assessment and discuss the operation and its risks. The patient can then decide whether they would like to go ahead with an implant.
This usually involves an overnight stay in hospital, although some patients are able to go home the same day. The operation lasts 2-3 hours for one cochlear implant. The incision is small, and the stitches are dissolvable.
In the vast majority of cases, no hair needs to be shaved for the operation. Patients are given a booklet of advice before going home.
Around 3-4 weeks after the operation, the patient will return to Ropewalk House to receive the external parts of the equipment and to begin programming the device. This is done by a Specialist Audiologist or Clinical Scientist, who explains how to use the implant and how to make sense of the sound.
The Audiologist programs the device so that the patient can hear as much as possible without the sounds becoming too loud. At first, it is common not to be able to make sense of the sounds. They can sound very different to what is expected and it can take time to get used to this.
Patients will be seen for programming of the implant system at regular intervals over the first 12 months. These usually happen on day one, then after one week, one month, three months, six months and 12 months. Patients can also see a speech and language therapist for extra support.
Patients will be offered an annual check-up. The patient can make additional appointments if they are needed. A repairs and replacement parts service provides ongoing support, with replacements being sent out by post for next working day delivery. Technology is upgraded as appropriate.
Transfers from other programmes
For patients wishing to transfer in from other programmes, we require information about their implant and its settings, and funding must be in place before we can begin to provide support. Please contact us for further information.