More adults guaranteed cochlear implants
Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health
16th July 2013
The number of adults guaranteed to receive a cochlear implant
each year for severe or profound hearing loss will double.
Health Minister Tony Ryall today announced annual baseline
funding for cochlear implants will increase by $1.6 million -
bringing the total annual baseline funding for cochlear implants to
over $7 million.
"Annual baseline funding previously allowed for 20 cochlear
implants for adults. As a result of this increase, 20 extra adults
will now be guaranteed to receive a cochlear implant each year,"
says Mr Ryall.
"Currently adults can wait around two years for a cochlear
implant however, some wait longer depending on their clinical
"We have invested nearly $7 million in one off funding in the
past four years to reduce how long adults wait for their implant.
However, the government thinks greater certainty is needed rather
than peaks and troughs of patients receiving implants.
"Thanks to our strong financial management, we are able to
invest in the changing needs of our population. We are increasing
baseline funding to guarantee more adults receive implants.
"Cochlear implants significantly improve the lives of those who
receive them and their families. I recently received a letter from
a profoundly deaf woman whose life has dramatically changed since
receiving her cochlear implant.
"She wrote, before my implant I had to rely on my two teenage
boys to make sure they alerted me to the oven timer beeping to make
sure dinner was not burnt, people knocking on the door and taking
telephone messages for me. With my implant, I can now hear sirens,
alarms, cars reversing - I feel more a part of the world around
me," quoted Mr Ryall.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device
that provides a sense of sound to a person who is severely hard of
hearing or profoundly deaf.
In addition to 40 adult implants, 30 children and up to 16
new-borns receive a cochlear implant each year. There is no waiting
list for implants for children or newborns.
Each cochlear implant costs between $45,000 and $55,000. The
funding for the cochlear programme includes the implant device,
surgery and on-going lifetime support.