When Alice Woodcock’s hearing dropped out, she realised that one Cochlear Implant would not do.
Alice has attracted a lot of publicity recently with her efforts to fundraise for a second Cochlear Implant. She is a school teacher. She has always had hearing loss and has had hearing aids. However her hearing completely dropped away and she was no longer able to teach.
The government funds one Cochlear Implant. However in a noisy classroom environment one ear just doesn’t cut it. Another teacher who recently got a single Cochlear Implant noted that she can hear children talk when she is facing the blackboard but she can’t tell whether it is a child in her class talking or one from a neighbouring classroom. With two ears Alice will hear the difference.
If a teacher recognises that they need two ears to function well in their classroom, how much more does a child, who doesn’t have the experiences to draw on to cope and compensate, need two ears to function to their full potential in a classroom?
When this website last looked at the national stats for Cochlear Implant users only 2% of adults had funded a second ear. 16% of children had two ears. For those children without two ears they have to work extraordinarily hard just to keep up in the classroom. That’s effort they can’t put into other activities that other kids enjoy and grow through.
We continue to call on the New Zealand Government fully fund Cochlear Implants for children. For a maximum of $3.1m per year all newly identified children who need Cochlear Implants could be provided with a full ‘two ears’ Cochlear Implant system.
We also congratulate Alice on raising the $40,000 she needs to restore her hearing and get back to the teaching that she loves.