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What is the assessment process for a bone conduction hearing implant?

Photo: The assessment should take place in a children’s hospital or other children’s clinic

What happens once the auditory implant service has agreed to assess my child?

Your child will be sent a first appointment date to meet the auditory implant team within six weeks of the referral being made.

To make sure the assessment is as thorough as possible, before the bone conduction hearing implant (BCHI) team professionals see you they’ll need to collect as much information as possible from your local services about your child’s:

  • hearing loss
  • speech, language and communication development
  • play
  • early skills and emotional development
  • use of, and benefit from, hearing aids.

At the assessment, your child may be seen by a number of different people including:

  • an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon
  • an audiologist
  • a speech and language therapist
  • an ENT liaison nurse.

You can expect everyone in the auditory implant service team to be qualified and registered with the relevant professional body. The work of less experienced staff should be supervised by senior members of staff.

Providing children and young people with a BCHI is a very specialist area and this could mean that you may meet students who will be observing your child’s assessment. If you’re not happy with this, mention it. This should not affect the assessment or treatment your child receives.

The assessment should take place in a children’s hospital or other children’s clinic. Some of the assessment may be video recorded, but only if you give your permission.

A member of the team may also arrange to visit your child and you at home, school or nursery and provide detailed information about the BCHI, and how it will work.

Towards the end of the assessment process you and your child will meet an ENT liaison nurse. They will give you information about your child going into hospital, their care before and after surgery, and how you and your child will need to look after the sound processor and the skin around the surgical site and abutment (if you have one) afterwards.

If you or your child has any worries or anxieties about their stay in hospital, discuss them with the ENT liaison nurse.

What happens when the assessment is finished?

The BCHI team should tell you the result of the assessment within five working days of it finishing. You should receive a written report and further information within three weeks of the final assessment. This information will also be shared with your child’s specialist and GP, your local education services, and any other local professionals who were involved with referring or assessing your child.

If a BCHI is considered unsuitable, you should be given reasons for this decision and recommendations for alternative hearing aids.

If it’s considered suitable and you decide that your child should go ahead with the surgery, a management or care plan should be put in place.

It’s really important that you fully understand, and are involved with developing, this plan. When you and the BCHI team have developed and agreed the plan, a copy of it will be sent to your child’s specialist and their GP, and to other local professionals.