In New Zealand around 30-40 children a year receive Cochlear Implants. To receive a Cochlear Implant a child has to have a severe to profound hearing loss. In simple terms this means they can’t even hear a jack hammer, let alone distinguish and decode speech.
Cochlear Implants are a miracle. They allow these children to hear. However the government only funds one implant per child. This flies in the face of clinical evidence that two Cochlear Implants (often referred to as bilateral implants) are needed. Recent research shows bilaterally implanted children develop language on a par with their normal hearing peers. However this same research shows children with only a single implant develop language more slowly and to a lower level. This provides an impediment to these children’s success – both academically and socially.
It is time that New Zealand catch up with the vast majority of comparable countries and provide bilateral Cochlear Implants.
To help our Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, understand that this is important, please take a moment to sign this