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West of England Hearing Implant Programme

Cropped Olympic image

Cochlear implant user Tom and his sister Amy run through Taunton with the Olympic Torch. 

The West of England Hearing Implant Programme was established in 1995 as the regional centre for the South West. We now implant about 100 patients per year, with a fairly even mix between adults and children. Implanted patients remain under the care of the programme for life. 

The programme provides comprehensive care for all ages with close collaborative work between the adult, paediatric and adolescent parts of our team. We have established a dedicated Rehabilitation team which meets regularly to discuss the individual needs of every patient and to appoint a key worker in every case.

We have developed new methods of working to streamline the patient experience and work closely with other ENT and Audiology departments throughout the region. We arrange as much care as possible close to the patient's home. We have developed outreach clinics at Taunton, Exeter, Truro, Newton Abbott and Barnstaple and continue to look for ways of improving the care that we provide.

Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening with early diagnosis and hearing aid fitting at a very young age has led to earlier referral for consideration for Cochlear Implantation. Bristol was a pilot site for Neonatal Screening so we have been able to gain significant experience with very young children. We aim to carry out Cochlear Implantation for congenitally deaf children by the child's first birthday where appropriate.

Our programme meets the Quality Standards set by the British Cochlear Implant Group, Royal National Institute for the Deaf and National Deaf Children's Society and our work is regularly audited to monitor the outcomes of Cochlear Implantation.

We have a multi-disciplinary team of 25 people including audiologists, audiological scientists, teachers of the deaf, speech and language therapists, hearing therapists, adult and paediatric psychologists, paediatrician, surgeons, specialist radiologist and dedicated administrative staff. We have regular Multi-disciplinary team meetings to develop co-operative working techniques, discuss new developments in the field of Cochlear Implantation and to plan the care of patients.

Should you experience a problem with your speech processor and are unable to attend the Department to collect a replacement, we operate a postal repair service. More information here.