Yet another paper came out last month supporting the provision of bilateral cochlear implants for children. This time its in Oxford Journals’ Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. Julia Sarant and Philippa Garrard from Melbourne University have published a paper entitled Parenting Stress in Parents of Children With Cochlear Implants: Relationships Among Parent Stress, Child Language, and Unilateral Versus Bilateral Implants . The paper is based on a study of both Australian and New Zealand children with cochlear implants.

The paper confirms an obvious observation… it is less stressful for parents to raise a child with bilateral cochlear implants when compared to raising a child with a unilateral cochlear implant.

The paper concludes:

A further novel finding of this study is that parent stress was lower in parents of children with bilateral CIs than in parents of children with unilateral CIs. This finding fits in with reports in the literature that parents find communication with children who have bilateral CIs easier and that the effort required in communica- tion for these children is reduced. Given the close and well-documented relationship between parent stress, or psychological state, and child development in many areas, this is important information to consider when decisions about unilateral versus bilateral implantation are being made.

To put this in our New Zealand context, the current Ministry of Health policy of funding only one cochlear implant adds stress onto parents. This is quite unnecessary and is yet another reason why funding bilateral cochlear implants for children should be a high priority.