Referral Guidelines & Clinic Info - Cochlear Implants

Tasmanian Health Service - Northern Region

Referral Guidelines and Clinic Information - Cochlear Implants

Candidacy criteria for cochlear implants have changed dramatically over time, due to advances in technology and improving hearing outcomes.

Many people benefit from a combination of hearing aid and cochlear implant. Some people with normal hearing in one ear may also benefit from implantation in their poor ear.

Adults and children whose air conduction pure tone thresholds in the poorer ear, are within the dark area may benefit and can be referred for an initial assessment.

Hearing Threshold and Frequency ChartThese levels are guidelines only. A comprehensive assessment is required to determine if someone would benefit from cochlear implantation.

Preoperative appointments involve thorough ENT investigations,complete audiological assessment as well as counselling on the potential benefits and limitations of cochlear implantation. Children will also require a speech and language assessment. All appropriate hearing options will be explored.

A cochlear implant is different to a traditional hearing aid because hearing aids can only amplify the remaining natural hearing. An implant can provide electronic/artificial hearing for all sounds in the speech range. Whilst a cochlear implant does not provide “normal” hearing, when recommended, 75% of people will have a significant improvement in their ability to follow conversation.

Patients need to attend post-operative appointment for device programming and rehabilitation and will require ongoing annual reviews.

Referral requirements

A medical referral addressed to Dr Simone Boardman is required.

We request that a GP referral state that the referral is “indefinite” given the chronic or permanent nature of the hearing loss. An indefinite referral will cover all future appointments and save the need to supply a new referral in the future.

Please include the following information in your referral:

  • Patient contact details and preferred contact person
  • Interpreter requirements and language
  • History and aetiology of hearing loss
  • Current audiogram and information about hearing aids
  • Relevant medical issues, especially issues that may increase the anaesthetic risk
  • Summary of relevant test results e.g. radiology
  • Your details and provider number ( this is a Medicare billed clinic with no out of pocket cost to Medicare eligible patients

Referral Process

An Indefinite Referral from a GP is required, addressed to:

Dr Simone Boardman
C/O Audiology Service
Wellington Clinic
Royal Hobart Hospital
GPO Box 1061, Hobart, 7000

A copy of a recent hearing test should be included.

Where will the assessment appointments be provided?

Audiology & Speech Pathology appointments will be provided at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Implant surgery and medical care will be provided in Launceston by Dr Boardman.

What is the cost?

There is no cost for allied health care. Audiology appointments are bulk billed under Medicare for eligible patients.

Cochlear implant surgery and medical care can be provided publicly or privately. The cochlear implant electrode array and speech processor is fully funded by the government for public patients and by private health insurance companies for private patients.

Travel costs

All aspects of cochlear implant assessment, surgery and rehabilitation are provided in Tasmania for public and private patients. The Clinic is affiliated with the Melbourne Cochlear implant Clinic.

Assistance with the cost of travel to Launceston and/ or Hobart may be provided through the Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (PTAS).  For more information, contact the PTAS office at your closest hospital.

In some circumstances, the team will recommend that patients are seen at the Melbourne Cochlear Implant Clinic. In these cases patients will be eligible for support with the cost of travel through PTAS. In order for travel to be approved, the PTAS form must be signed by a member of the Tasmanian Implant Team.