Hearing Week 2018 is here and what a time to celebrate the power of cochlear implants to change lives for the better. But we need help to change more lives for the better, and the Pindrop Foundation is calling on sustainable funding for the New Zealand adult cochlear implant programmes.
In 2017, the adult cochlear implant programs got a one off funding boost of $6.5 million to enable 120 adults to get an implant in 2018, something that was well worth celebrating. Cricketing legend, Lance Cairns knows only too well the power of cochlear implants to change lives, his own was changed by one, "Here I was going from a $15,000 beneficiary to paying $20,000 in tax back to the government...it's a no brainer really."
#HearUs, #HelpUs is a Pindrop Foundation campaign, bringing together ENT surgeons, audiologists, researchers and adults who are calling for sustainable funding for cochlear implants.
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 programmes and enabled us to address the lengthy waiting lists, but we need to be able to achieve sustainable funding to ensure the waiting times do not continue to grow again."
ENT Surgeon, Bill Baber, highlights the impact of severe hearing loss on adults, “People start to feel shut off from their friends, society; becoming isolated because they’re too embarrassed to go out …hearing loss makes people think they’re either stupid, or rude, or both, so they start to withdraw from life. Cochlear implants can change all that.
“But because of the limited funding, we are often playing God. When I see these patients come in and know we can help them, but then we have to go to a meeting to decide who’s going to get an implant… it’s a horrible feeling.”
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, and the reasons for that is the economic and social consequences of severe hearing loss.
Lyn Polwart says her cochlear implant changed her life, where she went from being socially isolated to participating fully in life again, “I can go anywhere I want to – and I love to travel, go to social events…things that were once upon a time a big no no, I can now enjoy simply because I can communicate again. There is no value I can place on that. That’s why it’s so vital that people who need a cochlear implant get one in a timely manner. That’s why we are calling on the government for sustainable funding. So please get behind our campaign and #HearUs, #HelpUs.”
There are numerous ways to help support the #HearUs #HelpUs campaign:
• Simply visit the Pindrop Foundation website to send an email to your MP
• Share the link with your friends, family and networks.
• Share the campaign videos across social media.
• Share your story with your local media.
To find out more, visit the Pindrop Foundation website on: www.pindrop.org.nz