Disappointment and frustration over the government’s cochlear implant funding decision

Cochlear implant clients, ENT surgeons and audiologists are extremely disappointed at the government’s decision not to continue with the additional $6.5 million funding boost to the cochlear implant programs.

They say the government’s decision last week will have a huge impact on the lives of patients already waiting in excess of two years for a cochlear implant.

“When you’re losing your hearing, your frustration grows as the result of the difficulties in communication, and it is easy to lose hope and give up on many aspects of your life…family, friends, work. A cochlear implant can change all that, and while it seems like a lot of money for a cochlear implant, the benefits are life changing,” says Josie Calcott, a cochlear implant user.

Bill Baber, ENT surgeon for the Northern Cochlear Implant Program says, “For years now, we have been playing God in relation to who can and cannot get a cochlear implant. In this day and age of health, to have such disparity of access to treatment is simply abhorrent.”

Lee Schoushkoff, CEO of the Pindrop Foundation says, “The additional one off funding of $6.5 million was a welcome boost to the adult cochlear implant programs and enabled us to address the lengthy waiting lists. This decision by the government not to continue with this level of funding means that the waiting times will continue to grow to unacceptable levels again."

It’s been shown that in terms of quality of life and cost effectiveness, cochlear implantation is considered to be the third most cost effective intervention that is presently available.

Scotty McLachlan says his cochlear implant changed his life, where he went from being socially isolated to participating fully in life again, “I was in no mans land, not knowing when I would be able to restart my life again…that was until I got my cochlear implant just over a year ago. Work is so much easier now I can hear, and I’ve recently become engaged. We need help to get the message out there about this level of disparity in access to treatment. It’s simply not OK.”

The Pindrop Foundation, a charity which supports access to cochlear implant technology and services for adults, is calling on people to support their HearUs campaign calling on additional health funding for cochlear implant services.

To help, simply visit the HearUs page on the website to submit a letter to your MP.

HearUs Campaign.