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Adult Programme – clients aged 19 years and over  

Adults are eligible for one publicly funded cochlear implant.  

Current funding criteria means that suitability for implantation is not the same as eligibility for public funding. 


If clients meet the implantation criteria but not the public referral criteria, they can be seen privately for assessment and information. If a client is interested in this option the Northern Cochlear Implant Programme is happy to provide a list of private providers in the region. 


If the following statements are true for you or your client when wearing hearing aids, a cochlear implant referral may be appropriate: 


  1. Can only have a conversation with one or two familiar speakers on the telephone 

  2. Can only have a conversation face-to-face in a quiet room  

Public Funding Criteria 


  •  Clients with maximum scores on speech audiometry that are ≤ 60% in the better hearing ear (PI-max for monosyllabic words). To qualify for referral onto the public programme: 

  • Clients need to have had sufficient hearing (aided or unaided) to have developed some spoken language. 

  • Clients must be New Zealand citizens or residents (and must actively live in New Zealand for a minimum of 187 days a year). 

  • Clients need to be well enough for surgery (this decision can be left to the CI team). 

  • Clients need to be good hearing aid wearers. If hearing has dropped to a level where there is no gain from aiding, the programme insists that ear moulds are provided so we can determine if there is a lip reading benefit from aiding.    



When meningitis results in significant hearing loss (>65 dB HL) in either hearing ear.

Note: because of the risk of ossification the programme requests that we are made aware of the potential referral as soon as concerns develop, even if their speech audiometry would place them out of public criteria.

There is no expectation that items on the check list are provided prior to acceptance on the programme. 



Please note that there is no maximum age for referral and clients with additional needs are not excluded​. 


Private Funding Criteria

Clients must have at least one of the following: 


  • Hearing thresholds within the shaded region for the left or right ear. Depending on the aetiology it is possible that the client will meet aided threshold criteria but not unaided threshold criteria. (e.g. hyperacusis from Meniere’s) and unilateral cases will be considered (private implantation only). 


  • A severe hearing handicap as evidenced by speech audiometry that is <60% (Pimax on CVC or AB words) in either ear. 


Prior to assessment a full diagnostic test needs to be completed and aids/moulds need to be optimised.

If prescriptive settings cannot be met, please note what has been attempted to boost the gain and why this has not been successful.

There is no age limit to implantation and clients with additional needs are not excluded but candidates must be well enough for surgery and the rehabilitation process. 


You can refer if thresholds fall anywhere within the shaded area.






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