Cochlear implant candidacy criteria

Emergency referrals

All urgent cases must be discussed with the on call Registrar to obtain appropriate prioritisation and treatment. Contact through:

  • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (07) 3646 8111

Urgent cases accepted via phone must be accompanied with a written referral and a copy faxed immediately to the Central Patient Intake Unit: 1300 364 952.

Other important information for referring practitioners

Selection criteria

  • Audiological criteria
    • Bilateral moderate to profound sloping sensorineural loss
    • Bilateral severe flat sensorineural loss
    • Bilateral steeply sloping hearing loss with some degree of hearing loss at 1 kHz and severe to profound at 2 and 4 kHz
    • Less than 70% correct keywords on open-set pre-recorded sentence materials presented at 65 dBSPL in the best aided condition OR
    • Less than 55% phonemes correct in the worse hearing ear and less than 75% phonemes correct in the better hearing ear on pre-recorded word material presented at 65 dBSPL
  • No upper age limits for referral
  • Realistic expectations for outcomes with regards to: duration of hearing loss, language level of recipient & access to effective rehabilitation
  • Patients are only eligible for implantation through the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital program if both ears meet cochlear implant candidacy. However, patients may be considered for cochlear implantation if they meet candidacy criteria in 1 ear and the other ear cannot be optimally aided (e.g. fluctuating losses, chronic middle ear problems).


  • Patients meeting sentence score criteria will be prioritised higher than those only meeting phoneme score criteria
  • Patients in the workforce will be prioritised
  • Level of communication difficulties
  • Medical urgency – ossification of the cochlea following trauma, illness (e.g. meningitis) or disease process (e.g. otosclerosis)
  • Patients with dual sensory impairment
  • Patient’s social needs will be taken into consideration for prioritising


  • Long term hearing loss i.e. congenitally deaf who have never been aided
  • Hearing loss due to dysfunction of the acoustic nerve or central auditory pathways
  • Otitis media or other active, unresolved ear problems
  • Radiographic evidence of absent/abnormal cochlear development
  • Inability or lack of willingness to participate in post-implantation aural rehabilitation

Referral requirements

A referral may be rejected without the following information.

Please refer to Ear, Nose, Throat Surgery and to Audiology at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital for cochlear implant assessment.

Out of catchment

Metro North Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service. If your patient lives outside the Metro North Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can’t order, or the patient can’t afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary
  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use
  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date of birth
  • Residential and postal address
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature
  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)

Specialists list

Send referral

Hotline: 1300 364 938

Fax: 1300 364 952

Electronic: eReferral system

Mail: Metro North Central Patient Intake
Aspley Community Centre
776  Zillmere Road

Health pathways

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