Cochlear Implants for the Deaf

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Radio New Zealand just ran a news story about the difficulty of getting cochlear implants in New Zealand. Each implant costs $40,000 to $50,000 and the health system currently funds twenty per year. ┬áCochlear implants are most effective when implanted in children and, for that price with a little ongoing support, a profoundly deaf child will be able to hear speech – for instance – for the rest of their lives. ┬áTypically people who receive the implants are unable to get benefits from other devices such as hearing aids.

For those who want cochlear implants in our public health system there is a wait of four to ten years. Most patients get one implant so they can hear from one ear only. Of course, two implants per patient would boost the amount heard by each recipient dramatically.

Today a petition with 7680 signatures was presented to parliament to request more funding for cochlear implants. Mojo Mathers “says the implants need to be funded through the public health system, not the disability services.” (Radio NZ). If cochlear implants were funded this way many more would be available.

I think it is important that profoundly deaf New Zealanders are given then chance to hear. Good luck Mojo – I hope parliament hears and acts on the message this petition presents.