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New Zealand has a small but growing and vibrant community of cochlear implant users. For the last few years (2012 and 2013) we have published a snapshot of the numbers of cochlear implant users. This is useful for a whole pile of purposes including policy setting, reporting, costing and, most importantly, an awareness for users that there are others travelling the same road as them.

The numbers are as at 30th June 2014. This is the close of the funding period used by the Ministry of Health.

This year we have broken the observations into two groups. This is to reflect the two funding streams provided by the government.

Children/Paediatric (0-18yo)

The key observations for children are:

  • There are now 376 children with cochlear implants, up from 353 last year. This is a 6.5% increase.
  • Of the 376 children, 108 or 29% have bilateral cochlear implants. This is up 27 from 81 last year. This is a 33% increase.

Looking at the age ranges:

  • 21 out of 30 (70%) 0-2yos have bilaterals – was 7 out of 13 (54%) last year
  • 17 out of 38 (45%) 3-4yos have bilaterals – was 14 out of 37 (38%) last year
  • 29 out of 70 (41%) 5-7yos have bilaterals – was 18 out of 62 (29%) last year
  • 41 out of 238 (17%) 8-18yos have bilaterals – was 42 out of 241 (17%) last year

For infants (0-2yo) the overwhelming majority now have bilateral implants. Also the numbers of infants has jumped up from 13 to 30. This represents parents realising that the best opportunity for their child to hear well is to get two cochlear implants.

The start of school aged (5-7yo) group has also seen a major jump in the percentage of children with two cochlear implants. Again parents have realised that school is a significant challenge for a child with just one ear. They have stepped up and funded a second ear to give their child the best possible opportunity to succeed in school.

The group of older children (8-18yo) is almost unchanged.

Looking at the two programmes, The Hearing House providing the northern programme and the Souther Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP) providing the southern programme, there have been some interesting changes.

  • Northern have 60 bilateral kids out of 197 kids (30%). Last year it was 43 out of 174 (25%).
  • Southern have 48 bilateral kids out of 179 kids (27%). Last year it was 38 out of 179 (21%).

The northern programme has grown by 23 children and is now the bigger programme. The southern programme has remained static in number (the outflow of children into adulthood has equalled the new children entering the programme). Both have lifted their percentage of children with bilateral implants.

Over all in the last 12 months the numbers of children with CIs grew by 23 and the number of children with bilaterals grew by 27. This means the numbers of children with one cochlear implant declined by 4.

Adult

The adult programmes have continued to grow. The is driven by both the roll over of children into adulthood and the additional funding provided by the government over the last year. Significant effort and funding has been directed into reducing the waiting list for adults. This is highly commendable.

The key observations for children are:

  • There are now 777 adults with cochlear implants, up from 670 last year. This is a 16% increase.
  • There are 17 bilateral adults up from 15 last year.

The adult programmes continue to grow as fast as funding allows. There is no discernible movement towards bilaterals yet with adult users.

Overall

There are now 1153 cochlear implant users in New Zealand. This is up 130 from last year. This is considerable more than the base funding the government provides (46 child plus 40 adults implants). This is due to one off additional funding from the government, privately or ACC funded implants and also immigration.

Raw data is included in this spread sheet – 2014 CI Numbers

Note: The NCIP adult numbers are publicly funded clients only. SCIP adult numbers include all client numbers. 

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