The Living Guidelines for Adult Cochlear Implantation - A New Chapter in Hearing Healthcare


A task force comprising 52 global hearing experts have announced the launch of new Living Guidelines for Adult Cochlear Implantation. These guidelines are set to significantly improve the standard of hearing care for adults across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Lee Schoushkoff, CEO of the Pindrop Foundation says, "As we continue championing hearing restoration advancements, the Living Guidelines for Adult Cochlear Implantation will be a vital resource in helping to address the crucial and significant unmet need in adults who are potential candidates for cochlear implants. We hope the Guidelines will pave the way for better knowledge dissemination, informed decision-making, and streamlined implantation procedures, ultimately promoting healthier, more fulfilling lives for adults experiencing hearing loss."

The guidelines are more than just words on paper, they are a roadmap to optimising the care of adults who might benefit from a cochlear implant, especially when hearing aids are no longer enough to help with access to sound and clarity of speech. 

Holly Teagle, Associate Professor of Audiology at the University of Auckland, and member of the task force, highlights the importance of these guidelines. "Clinical guidelines are crucial in ensuring healthcare decisions are based on the best available evidence. Until now, there were no international and patient-centred guidelines for hearing care and cochlear implants for adults. This publication is a wake-up call for government policy-makers, insurance and funding bodies, as well as health professionals to better understand the necessity of providing accurate information and access to hearing healthcare for those who could benefit."
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts the number of people living with hearing loss will soar to 2.5 billion by 2050. This is a significant concern as hearing loss has been linked to decreased quality of life, cognitive decline, depression and even neurocognitive disorders such as dementia.  Despite the potential advantages of cochlear implants, less than one in 10 eligible adults will receive one in their lifetime. 

Cedric Ratima, a Māori health advocate, emphasises the significance of these guidelines within the Māori community, "These guidelines are particularly pertinent for Māori, who historically have had higher rates of untreated hearing loss. By providing clear, accessible information on cochlear implant assessments and options, I hope there will be better support for our whānau affected by hearing loss.”

One of the key recommendations states that any adult with an average hearing level of 60dB HL or greater in their 'better ear' and are struggling to follow conversations in everyday settings should be considered for a cochlear implant assessment.

Cochlear Implant rehabilitationist, Ellen Giles says, “In New Zealand, most adults do not undergo regular hearing checks as part of their health check-ups. Of those who do and find they have a  moderate to severe hearing loss, very few are referred in a timely manner to a hearing specialist to assess whether cochlear implants could be a beneficial treatment option".

The new Cochlear Implant Living Guidelines comprise nine recommendations, from hearing screening to patient outcomes. The guidance and guidelines, drawn from over 13,000 peer-reviewed studies, will be updated as new evidence emerges.

To view the guidelines visit here:

For more information about the history and development of the living guidelines for adult cochlear implantation visit the Adult Hearing website below: