This Saturday is International Cochlear Implant day. Its a day when we can celebrate the amazing life change that cochlear implants have given to around half a million people world wide.
In New Zealand there are over 1400 people who benefit from cochlear implants.
While those who have cochlear implants in New Zealand reflect on the huge benefits, we also want to take this time to point to the ever lengthening waiting lists for people who have been clinically assessed as needing a cochlear implant. Each year the government only funds 40 implants for adults. Yet the waiting lists are growing at over 80 newly assessed adults per year. This is despite the New Zealand criteria being significantly more restrictive than comparable countries.
It is time for the Ministry of Health to recognise the massive benefits of cochlear implants and to lift funding from 40 implants a year to 80 per year.