Bilateral cochlear implantation is implantation on both sides, or the use of two cochlear implants.
The advantages of hearing implants for the development of children with hearing loss have been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies.
In New Zealand, Cochlear Implants are funded by the Ministry of Health. They fund approximately 46 implants nation wide per year for children. However they only fund one implant per child – except in the case of meningitis. Approximately 16% of children have received a second Cochlear Implant because their parents fundraise and pay for it. Most families can’t afford or see a way of fundraising the $50,000 necessary.
Internationally, many comparable countries now fund two, in recognition of the benefits of binaural hearing and the significant cost savings.
New Zealand is now lagging behind international norms. The current policy costs more in the long run, limits the ability of children to fully participate in society and creates real safety risks for children.
Our aim is to convince the Ministry of Health that it is good value to fund bilateral Cochlear Implants where the clinicians deem it appropriate.