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The Cochlear Implant community in New Zealand is very small. Last year we published a numerical snapshot of what the community looked like. With the help of the two implant programmes we have updated those numbers as at the end of June 2013.

Here are some key observations:

  • There are now over 1000 people who use cochlear implants in NZ. 353 of those are children (0-18yo) and 670 are adults.
  • 443 Cochlear Implant users are serviced by the Northern programme. 580 are serviced by the Southern programme.
  • The Northern Programme has 269 adults and 174 children. Of those children, 22 are under 5yo.
  • The Southern Programme has 401 adults and 179 children. Of those children, 28 are under 5yo.
  • In the last year 144 adults have been added. This is a result of the large increase in adult funding and children becoming adults. This represents a 27% increase.
  • In the last year there has been a small increase of 9% (28) in children numbers.
  • The growth has been evenly shared between the two programmes.

There have also been some interesting changes on the bilateral implant front:

  • The majority (54%) of babies and infants (0-2years) are now getting bilateral cochlear implants. This is a lift from 32% in 2012. It is now becoming normal for babies and infants to have bilateral cochlear implants.
  • Every age category has seen a lift in the percentage of children with bilateral cochlear implants over 2012.
  • The number of children with bilateral cochlear implants has increased from 52 in 2012 to 81 in 2013.
  • All the growth in children numbers in the last year has come from bilateral cochlear implants. The number of children with unilateral implants has decreased by 1. The number of children with bilateral implants has increased by 29.
  • The number of pre-schoolers (under 5yo) with cochlear implants has increased by 3 to 50 children. The percentage of these pre-schoolers with unilateral cochlear implants has decreased by 12% while the number with bilateral cochlear implants has increased by 50%.
  • The percentage of adult bilateral cochlear implants has remained static.

There has been a substantial swing in the last year towards bilateral cochlear implants being the norm for children. This is a reflection of overseas trends and comes from greater parental awareness of the benefits of bilateral cochlear implants for children.

The base data for these observations can be found in this spreadsheet – 2013 CI Numbers Workings.

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