Health Professionals

Guidelines for referring children or adults to the Northern Cochlear Implant Programme.

Who can refer to the NCIP?

Referrals are accepted from ENT Specialists, Audiologists, Advisors on Deaf Children, and GPs.

If you have any questions or would like to refer your patient/client please contact

Clinical Services Coordinator
(0-19 years)

P: 09 579 2333 or
0800 254 783

F: 09 579 2310​

Cochlear Implant Coordinator (19+ years)

P: 09 579 2333 or
0800 254 783

F: 09 579 2310​


Referral criteria

  • No minimum/maximum age.

  • Adults must be medically cleared for surgery.

  • Must be a New Zealand citizen or have permanent residency to be eligible for public funding.

Prior to referral to the Cochlear Implant Programme, patients should have been fitted with appropriate hearing aids and found to receive little or no significant benefit.

Generally, cochlear implant candidates should have spoken language as a primary goal. Appropriate exceptions may be those with additional physical or cognitive limitations. Candidacy in these cases is best determined by the cochlear implant assessment team. If in doubt please refer your patient for an assessment.

Referral Criteria for Children

Please refer children whom you consider might be borderline – we are always happy to discuss cases with you on the phone.

Click to see the referral guideline for children.

Click here to download the aided speech phoneme audiogram


Adult criteria

  • Bilateral moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss (i.e. ≥ 90dBHL at 2000Hz and above for better ear) including ski slope or reverse losses.

  • No maximum age for referral.

  • Patients with additional needs are not excluded.

  • Oral/aural communication skills.

  • Limited or no useful benefit from hearing aids.

  • 60% or less on CVC words in the better ear.

If you are in doubt about a possible referral, please do refer them to the NCIP, or call us to discuss.

Assessment process

When you refer a patient the referral will be acknowledged and you will be updated as the assessment progresses. When the assessment has been completed, both you and your patient will be notified as to whether he/she is a cochlear implant candidate.

The Ministry of Health provides separate funding for cochlear implants for children and adults each year. Once children are determined to be cochlear implant candidates, surgery is generally scheduled within 1-2 months. If candidacy is approved, adults are prioritised according to their clinical need and placed on a waiting list.