Life Unlimited supports cochlear petition

Sally Taylor, Life Unlimited’s Hearing Therapy service and development manager

Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy supports the #endsilence petition which asks for an increase in funding to the nearly 200 eligible adults on the national cochlear implant waiting list.

Statistics taken from the last disability survey showed that 9% of New Zealanders were recorded as having a hearing impairment that assistive devices and hearing aids did not help, said Sally Taylor, Life Unlimited’s Hearing Therapy service and development manager.

“We see the impact of hearing loss every day and left untreated can have significant consequences on not just the individual living with the hearing loss, but also on their family.

“We have the opportunity to support this programme so those on the waiting list can put an end to their silence,” she said.

The Government currently funds cochlear implants for 40 adults nationally every year, but this base figure hasn’t changed for more than five years and is now inadequate.

Together the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme, Northern Cochlear Implant Programme and the Pindrop Foundation are calling on the Government to provide an immediate funding increase from 40 to 120 adult implants per annum.

A cochlear implant is a surgically-implanted electronic device that restores hearing for those with profound hearing loss.

Most people on the waiting list were not born deaf – they lost their hearing as adults. The onset of total and permanent deafness can happen to anyone at any point. The clinical cause is often unknown.

Hearing aids become ineffective when the hearing loss is more than severe. Communication through spoken language becomes impossible. A cochlear implant is the last and only viable treatment that will restore hearing.

Signatures to the petition are now being accepted on the New Zealand Parliament website and close on 15 May.