Health Professionals

Referrals for both children and adults for cochlear implants are accepted from ENT specialists, Audiologists, Advisers on deaf children and GPs

Referral Criteria
  • No minimum/maximum age.
  • Adults must be medically cleared for surgery.
  • Must be a New Zealand citizen or have permanent residency to be eligible for public funding.

Prior to referral to the Cochlear Implant Programme, patients should have been fitted with appropriate hearing aids and found to receive little or no significant benefit.

Generally, cochlear implant candidates should have spoken language as a primary goal. Appropriate exceptions may be those with additional physical or cognitive limitations. Candidacy in these cases is best determined by the cochlear implant assessment team. If in doubt please refer your patient for an assessment.


Referral Criteria for Children

Please refer children whom you consider might be borderline – we are always happy to discuss cases with you on the phone.

  • Children who have recently suffered from meningitis which has caused a sensorineural hearing loss should be referred urgently following diagnosis.
  • Children who have a bilateral severe hearing loss or worse, from 1 kHz to 8 kHz on ABR testing, or on an unaided test.
  • Children with limited aided speech information above 2 kHz (as seen on speech-mapping). Children with a severe reverse sloping hearing loss or worse, or those whose speech and language is not progressing adequately.
  • Children with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder who are not progressing in their speech and language development.
  • Children older than three who are referred should have documented evidence of developing oral language.
  • Children over the age of four with no oral language will be considered and discussed only on a case-by-case basis.
  • A child older than five with no language is unlikely to benefit from a CI.
  • Children with additional needs will be accepted for assessment.

If you are in doubt about a possible referral please do refer them to the Northern Cochlear Implant Programme, or call us to discuss.

Referral Criteria for Adults
  • Bilateral moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss (i.e. ≥ 90dBHL at 2000Hz and above for better ear) including ski slope or reverse losses.
  • No maximum age for referral.
  • Patients with additional needs are not excluded.
  • Oral/aural communication skills.
  • Limited or no useful benefit from hearing aids.
  • 60% or less on CVC words in the better ear.

If you are in doubt about a possible referral, please do refer them, or call us to discuss.


Assessment process

When you refer a patient the referral will be acknowledged and you will be updated as the assessment progresses. When the assessment has been completed, both you and your patient will be notified as to whether he/she is a cochlear implant candidate.

The Ministry of Health provides separate funding for cochlear implants for children and adults each year. Once children are determined to be cochlear implant candidates, surgery is generally scheduled within 1-2 months. If candidacy is approved, adults are prioritised according to their clinical need and placed on a waiting list.


Funding for Children

All children accepted as a candidate for cochlear implantation will receive full public funding.


If you have any questions or would like to refer your patient/client please contact

P: 09 579 2333 or 0800 254 783

F: 09 579 2310

M: 021 811 493

P: 09 373 7956