Today (Monday 28th April 2014) Minister Ryall announced the provision of funding for bilateral cochlear implants for:
- Babies identified through the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Intervention Programme (UNHSEIP)
- Children receiving cochlear implants
- Children who are under 6yo and have an existing cochlear implant
In addition, all children (up to 18yo) will be provided support for their second CI – even if they funded it themselves.
The 2ears2hear team are ecstatic about this Budget 2014 – Cochlear Implants announcement.
As parents who have had to fund their own children’s second cochlear implant, at a cost of up to $50,000 per child, we know first hand the pressure finding this money places on families. This pressure comes on top of dealing with the shock of being told your child has hearing loss and in many cases starting a family.
We congratulate Minister Ryall, the government, the Ministry of Health officials and the two cochlear implant trusts who have worked hard to make this happen.
We are excited for the families who will not have to face these pressures. We are excited for the opportunities this announcement will provide for these childrens’ futures.
Over the coming weeks we will see the details of this announcement and how it will practically be implemented. There is certainly more work to do.
And there are some celebrations to be had. Please continue to watch the 2ears2hear website and Facebook page for some further announcements.
In the mean time, please come over to our Facebook page and share in the excitement.
2ears2hear was started in September 2012 by parents of children who had already funded two cochlear implants for their children. Our aim has always been to support families of children with profound hearing loss to be able to provide the best outcomes for their children. We have supported families to fundraise for a second cochlear implant, raised awareness of the benefits of having two cochlear implants and have advocated for government funding for implantation of both ears.
Cochlear implants are an electronic device that allows a child to hear despite having no natural hearing. It consists of an externally worn sound processor and an implanted electrode array within the cochlea. Children implanted bilaterally before the age of 12months, with good therapy, will most likely develop speech with no discernible difference to any other child. They are likely to achieve at least as well academically as any other child and not require ongoing educational support.
Cochlear Implants have been available internationally and in New Zealand for around 30 years. There are around 350 children with them currently in NZ with around 80 of those children have two (one for each ear).