In Ireland there is an equivalent parent lobby group to 2ears2hear. The Happy New Ear campaign have been advocating for Irish children to receive funding for two cochlear implants. They are a fabulous group of parents who want the best for their children’s future.

The Irish government face dire economic conditions. Their health system has had to find over 600million euros of savings. Despite this major contraction in health spending, the government has seen that funding two cochlear implants is such a high priority that they have found 4million euros in new expenditure to give Irish children two ears to hear.

The funding will see all newly diagnosed children receive two cochlear implants (where medically appropriate). It will also see children with one implant retrospectively receive a second over the coming years.

The 2ears2hear team want to congratulate our fellow parents of the Happy New Ear campaign, the Irish Government and the Irish Minister of Health (James Reilly) for all their work on behalf of Irish children with profound hearing loss.

This change in Ireland now leaves New Zealand as the last first world health system to continue to argue that one ear is enough. We are now multiple steps behind most comparable countries (such as Australia, Canada and the UK) who are now also starting to provide two implants for adults and one implant in the case of single sided hearing loss.

Not only are we out of sync with international medical practice, the research has now definitively come out about the need for children to hear with two ears to develop their language skills. Recently the lead researcher from the biggest study in this area visited New Zealand and briefed the Ministry of Health on her findings. The findings, to be published in the new year, strongly support two implants for children.

The next health budget will undoubtedly increase (as opposed to shrinking like the Irish budget). If Ireland can find the funding for bilateral implants in a massively shrunk budget, there is now no excuse for New Zealand’s Minister of Health and officials to find the funding for bilateral implants for children.

Ireland HSE – Service Plan 2014

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