• Run by the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service in partnership with university colleagues from Southampton Management School and Electronics and Computer Science, along with the University of Nottingham, Cochlear UK and service users.
  • A self-care innovation to be piloted initially with 30 patients.
  • Aims to make care for cochlear implant patients more effective and convenient.
  • Involves a long-term follow-up pathway for patients using remote self-monitoring, self-adjustment of devices, and an online or smartphone intervention package.

Around 1,400 people receive a cochlear implant in the UK each year. These patients require lifetime follow-up in order for their implant to be adjusted, and for rehabilitation.

Cochlear implant care is provided at one of 19 specialist tertiary centres in the UK, which may be several hours away from the patient’s home, necessitating travelling expenses, time off work and family disruption.

The University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service is undertaking an innovative project to make this care pathway patient-centred and provide a more efficient service that allows for more timely identification of issues.

The project team will design, implement and evaluate a long-term follow-up pathway for cochlear implant patients, offering them remote self-monitoring, self-adjustment of devices, and a personalised online or smartphone intervention package for testing their own hearing at home. The package of care will include information, self-rehabilitation, advice, equipment training and troubleshooting.

The customised remote control technology that will be provided to patients means they will be able to test their devices and adjust their own hearing levels.

The project team is anticipating that patients will benefit from the initiative through having better and more stable hearing, as problems can be identified and resolved quicker; the convenience of not having to travel to routine appointments; a reduction in travel cost and time; and increased confidence in managing their own hearing.

For the implant service, it will mean that the clinic has greater resources to see more complex cases and the expanding population of new patients.

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