Are you treating a patient who could benefit from a Cochlear Implant?
The vast majority of eligible patients are covered by private health insurance, state government funding or Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA). Some people may be eligible to health care and funding that provides the necessary financial support for a cochlear implant.
It is so important that every audiologist in Australia is able to identify and accurately assess the need for an implant candidacy evaluation as soon as possible. This is due to the delicate nature of a hearing implant. It is vital that a patient with moderately severe to profound hearing loss is aware of all their options so they can make an educated decision for their future. The sooner a patient can be treated, the better their chance of success.
Attune Hearing is the only QIP accredited hearing healthcare provider in Australia and we take great pride in our highly comprehensive and long-standing cochlear implant program. Every patient and their loved ones are provided education, resources and access to our team of highly experienced medical professionals on their implant journey. The program is overseen by Karen Pedley, who has been managing the Attune Cochlear Implant Program for over 27 years and has a wealth of experience across all areas of implant audiology.
Our Implant Program is broken down into six phases:
Step 1: Referral to Implant Surgeon
The patient asks their GP or managing ENT surgeon for a referral to an implant surgeon who will determine their medical suitability for implant surgery.
Step 2: The Cochlear Implant Candidacy Questionnaire
Once you are deemed medically suitable for implantation, Attune will send you an information pack that contains a number of resources, along with a questionnaire that is to be filled out by the patient and their loved ones. Attune Hearing uses the information provided in the questionnaire to ensure the time in the initial evaluation is highly relevant for the patient according to their individual needs.
Step 3: Evaluation and Information Session
When the patient visits the Attune Cochlear Implant Centre, the managing audiologist will perform an in-depth hearing assessment and gather all necessary information about the patient’s lifestyle and hearing history and take them through the patient journey step-by-step so they understand the process and feel comfortable.
Step 4: Specialist Tests and Investigations
Attune has an interdisciplinary team of Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons, audiologists and psychologists who work collaboratively to maximise the outcome of every patient. Investigations performed in this stage generally include a CT scan of the ears, a balance function test if appropriate and an opportunity to connect with an implant recipient with a similar story. This is often a beneficial and comforting experience for the patient.
Step 5: Pre-operative appointment
The audiologists work with the patient to establish realistic goals and timeframes for what they want to experience with their implant. This is when the audiologist can address any questions and concerns for the patient and their loved one and ensure they are feeling comfortable and well prepared prior to surgery.
Step 6: Schedule of Surgery
If investigations prove the patient to be eligible and medically suitable for the surgery and the patient decides to proceed, the surgeon will schedule the surgery.
Step 7: Implant Activation
About 10-14 days after surgery, the patient’s implant will be activated by the managing audiologist. At this appointment, the audiologist will program the speech processor to meet the patient’s needs, provide support and encouragement as the patient adjusts to the device and teach the patient exercises and activities to do at home to further help them adjust in their daily environment. The activation is done in a room with two-way glass, which allows loved ones to experience this incredible moment with the patient.
When you refer a patient to Attune, you can have peace of mind knowing that they will be looked after by a team of industry leading professionals.