New Zealand doubles the number of people to benefit from Cochlear Implants following successful campaign

Lee Schoushkoff, the Northern Cochlear Implant Programme chief executive and CIICA steering group member welcomed new funding announced by the Health Minister, Andrew Little. The number of adults getting cochlear implants for hearing loss will almost double, thanks to a big funding boost announced as part of Budget 2021.

Andrew Little said that while children are prioritised and rarely have a long wait for an implant, it is important to help adults too. He added that; “Severe or profound hearing loss has a huge impact on people, affecting their family lives, their social lives and their ability to work.

In our 2020 election manifesto we promised to double the number of cochlear implants the Government funds, and today we are moving to deliver on that. The Wellbeing Budget 2021 increase means that 320 more people will get implants by 2025. For these people, this will be life-changing, meaning they can work and socialise more easily and, most importantly, engage with their whānau and friends.”

Welcoming the move Northern Cochlear Implant Programme chief executive Lee Schoushkoff says the annual funding increase will help to ensure the waiting list doesn’t continue to increase beyond demand while providing certainty to hundreds of New Zealanders who have waited years for a cochlear implant – without any guarantee, they would receive one. “We are extremely relieved that the Government has listened to our calls for action, and prioritised adult cochlear implant funding,” says Lee. “Until today’s announcement, many on the waiting list faced the prospect of never hearing again. They now have an opportunity to not only have their hearing restored but to re-enter the workforce and excel in their chosen fields. For others, it means hearing their children and families again, participating in society and leaving a life of isolation. Their lives no longer remain on hold.”

20 May 2021

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