Two Ears
In New Zealand children who have profound hearing loss and are assessed as clinically eligible receive only one government funded Cochlear Implant. We think they should get two.

Why are two Cochlear Implants better than one? Here are five reasons:

  • Directionality

Two Cochlear Implants allow a child to identify where a sound is coming from. For children this is really important. It allows them to turn to where their parent, teacher or classmate is speaking from. It allows them to build awareness of what is happening in their environment. And it allows them to hear from where danger is approaching – like a car or other dangers approaching.

  • Hearing in Noise

Classrooms and households can be noisy, busy, vibrant environments with many different voices and sounds often occurring at once. Children with only one Cochlear Implant can find it difficult to distinguish and focus on a single voice or sound in such an environment. This can impact on the language and auditory development of these children who, with a language delay to make up, need to hear clear words many times over to catch up to their hearing peers. This can also impact on the child’s ability to access education. Two Cochlear Implants give a child the ability to hear a single voice (be that of a teacher or classmate) amongst the classroom noise.  The need for two Cochlear Implants becomes an increasingly important issue as class sizes increase and where classroom acoustics are not up to modern best practice standards.

  • Louder

Hearing with two Cochlear Implants provides a cumulative effect. What a child hears is louder and clearer – just like an FM radio is louder and clear than an AM/MW radio.

  • Acquire language faster

A second Cochlear Implant speeds up the acquisition of language. The combination of directionality, hearing in noise and being able to hear more (loudness) leads to children speaking more quickly and more clearly.

  • A spare ear

A major benefit of having a second Cochlear Implant is that if one breaks down – as all such devices will from time to time – the child  still can hear. They are not plunged into the depths of silence for the 1-2 days it takes for a replacement to arrive. Trying to explain to a now deaf young child that they can’t hear for 1-2 days can be a horrifying thing for a parent. It is certainly a confusing and frustrating time for a child.