Candidacy for Cochlear Implant

Candidacy for Cochlear Implant

You are experiencing hearing loss. You are struggling to communicate in your daily life. You want to know whether you are a candidate for a Cochlear Implant.

The path to getting a Cochlear Implant varies from country to country. As a starting point, it’s essential to have a look at the candidacy information. This will give you an idea if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Three companies produce Cochlear Implants. They are Cochlear, MED-EL, and Advanced Bionics. Each has candidacy information. What’s interesting is that each company’s candidacy information varies. This can make things confusing for any potential candidate.

At this stage, I would recommend that you study the candidacy information that I’ve provided. But your first port of call should be to contact your local medical practitioner. They will refer you to a specialist who can then assess your eligibility for a Cochlear Implant.

Let’s have a look at each company’s candidacy information in further detail:-


Cochlear’s candidacy information is specific. It is also detailed. Out of the three companies, I found their data to be the most useful.

Their information looks at criteria for adults, children (2-17 years), children (12-24 months), It factors in considerations such as asking the candidate about their lifestyle demands.


  • Individuals 18 years of age or older.

  • Moderate to a profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears.

  • Limited benefit from amplification defined by preoperative test scores of ≤ 50% sentence recognition in the pre-implanted ear and ≤60% in the opposite ear or binaurally (hearing with two ears).

Children (2-17 Years)

  • Severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Limited benefit from binaural amplification.

  • Multisyllabic Lexical Neighborhood Test (MLNT) or Lexical Neighborhood Test (LNT) scores ≤ 30%. These tests are used to assess the effects of hearing loss on communication abilities. They help to classify the degree and type of hearing loss, to determine candidacy for cochlear implantation. 

Children (12-24 Months)

  • Profound sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Limited benefit from binaural amplification.

Important Considerations:

  • Remember that many individuals with residual low-frequency hearing are Cochlear Implant candidates and can benefit from Cochlear Implants.

  • When appropriate, discuss the use of acoustic hearing: Does your patient have a passion for music? Work in noisy or reverberant environments? What are the lifestyle demands?

  • Determine motivation to experiment with hearing aids, in both the implanted and/or contralateral ears.

  • Discuss the opportunity to use acoustic hearing to manage expectations and rehabilitation options, when appropriate.

Read the full document here:

Cochlear recently updated their information further for people with hearing aids. They advise you to consider the following questions about your listening experience with your current hearing aids.

  • Are you able to talk on the phone without visual cues (such as video calls or caption calling)?

  • Are you able to understand television programs without closed captioning?

  • Are you able to effectively engage in conversations at large group gatherings such as dinner parties?

  • Do you feel that you obtain significant communication benefit from your current hearing aids?

If you answered “no” to at least two questions above, they recommend that you see an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing assessment and cochlear implant evaluation.

Cochlear also advise that you take an interactive quiz here:

Finally, they state that even if you do not meet candidacy currently, a Cochlear Implant candidacy evaluation will equip you with valuable knowledge about your hearing health and technology options to help you communicate now and in the future. Effectively, they want you to contact them should you have a hearing impairment which may worsen in the future.


MED-EL's candidacy information is generalised. They explain who benefits from a Cochlear Implant, notably:-

  • Children with a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Age at implantation may be as young as several months, depending on individual circumstances and local practices.

  • Adults with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Individuals who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids.

  • Individuals with access to education and (re)habilitation follow-up programmes.

MED-EL discuss eligibility criteria for cochlear implantation notably:

  • Candidates must have a functional auditory nerve and preoperatively assessed.

  • They strongly recommend using optimally fitted hearing aids for a minimum of three months before deciding whether a Cochlear Implant is the best option.

  • Candidates should be sufficiently motivated, realistic about the benefits of cochlear implantation, and educated about participation in regular audio processor programming, assessment, and training.

Finally, MED-EL outline criteria for child candidacy for a Cochlear Implant, notably if he or she:

  • Has a profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears.

  • Receives little or no benefit from hearing aids.

  • Has no contraindication preventing surgery.

  • Has access to appropriate education and rehabilitation follow-up.

  • Has access to an environment that supports successful learning and rehabilitation with a hearing implant.

Read the full documents here:

Advanced Bionics

Advanced Bionics ask you to complete a simple quiz. Should you tick one of the points, then you are directed to their contact form. They will contact you on completion.

It's clear that Advanced Bionics want to talk to any potential candidate/s. They want to get a dialogue going promptly.

The quiz questions are different for adults and children. They are as follows:-

Adults: Are you a candidate?

  • I have difficulty following conversations without lip reading.

  • I hear pretty well in quiet environments, but struggle in noisy environments or when in a group. 

  • I cannot follow most telephone conversations, especially if I don’t know the person who is calling.

  • I feel isolated and limited, both socially and occupationally, because of my hearing loss.

If you checked one or more of the above, then you may be a candidate for Cochlear implants. 

Is your child a candidate?

  • My child has delayed speech and language development as a result of his or her hearing loss.

  • My child rarely responds to his or her name.

  • My child avoids social interaction or lacks the appropriate skills to interact with other children or adults.

  • I have concerns about my child's ability to hear speech in noisy environments.

If you checked one or more of the above, then your child may be a candidate for Cochlear implants.

Read the full documents here:

If you like this article, you might like… What is a Cochlear Implant? This overview includes simple factual and video information.

If you like this article, you might like... The Cochlear Implant Animator. A fascinating interview with Animator and Director, Eric Giessmann, who talks about his path to success, losing his hearing and what inspired him to create the ‘Ciborg/Cochlear Implant animation.'

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