Public Funding

To be a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant, adults must have had a level of hearing that enabled them to develop speech and have been hearing aid users but are no longer benefitting from their aids. The level of hearing loss is determined to be severe to profound with a speech audiometry that is ≤ 60% in the better hearing ear.

The Ministry of Health guidelines for adults to receive one publically funded cochlear implant is:

  • Have severe to profound hearing loss
  • Cannot be helped by standard hearing aids
  • Have been assessed as likely to benefit from a cochlear implant
  • Are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services
  • Live permanently in New Zealand
  • Do not qualify for cochlear implant funding through ACC

Waiting periods may apply.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Health.

ACC funding might be available if the hearing loss was caused by an accident.

What are your options if you want two cochlear implants?

Due to the limited funding in Aotearoa NZ for cochlear implants for adults, the public programme only provides one implant. One cochlear implant gives people access to single-sided hearing, with the ability to follow conversations again, use the phone and participate more fully in life. 
There are limitations, though. For some people, whenever they have experienced the clarity of sound and benefit from their unilateral implant, they opt to have a second implant to give them directional hearing and ease their listening effort by having two ears to hear.

To have a second implant, you need to pay privately. As an estimate guide for the cost of surgery, rehabilitation and the cochlear implant device, $50,000 is needed. Make sure you discuss this with your medical and audiological team, so you are aware of all the costs involved when you are considering going bilateral.

These are some of the funding options clients have chosen:

1. Insurance for medical costs

Medical insurance in Aotearoa, NZ may cover surgery and specialist appointments but will not cover the cost of the cochlear implant device. This is separate. Speak to your insurance broker or provider about this option.

2. Finance for the cochlear implant device

Cochlear implant suppliers may offer finance plans to cover the cost of the device, and this can be discussed with your cochlear implant surgeon. They can advise you of the options available. 

3. Savings or equity release

Some clients have used savings or equity release on their homes.

4. Family support

Family members have supported clients in getting their second cochlear implant.

5. Give-a-little and Fundraising

Local communities have supported clients with fundraising activities, including movie nights, sponsored runs, auctions and give-a-little campaigns to raise the money needed.


There are ongoing costs when you go bilateral and pay privately.

To keep your hearing solution working at its best, you need to factor in maintenance costs. This includes replacement parts such as cables, coils, magnets and batteries. There are additional accessories to enhance your hearing experience, which you may already have with your unilateral CI, such as mini-mics and waterproof coverings.

With your publically funded single CI, future upgrades to your processor are covered; however, with a privately funded second CI, you will have to factor in budgeting for an upgrade. 

Some clients set up a CI savings fund and put $25 a week away to cover future costs.

If you would like to speak to someone who has made the decision to go bilateral, please reach out to us, and we can put you in touch.

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