The Government is promising to reduce New Zealand's cochlear implant waitlist with an extra $6 million investment.
The money will make for 70 additional adult cochlear implants this year, according to Health Minister Andrew Little.
“Cochlear implants are life changing for Kiwis who suffer from severe hearing loss. As well as improving an individual’s hearing, they open doors to employment, training and enhanced wellbeing,” Little said.
“This investment will have an immediate effect by reducing the historical adult wait list.”
The Government says as of December 31, the adult cochlear implant waitlist was 269. It expects the additional 70 implants will be delivered by 30 June.
“Labour made a manifesto commitment to double the number of cochlear implants each year from 80 to 160 during this parliamentary term and that commitment remains,” Little said.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that provides a sense of sound to people who have a severe or profound hearing loss.
Each year the Ministry of Health says it funds $8.7 million for 86 cochlear implants — 16 newborns, 30 children and 40 adults.
There are currently more than 1600 New Zealanders with a cochlear implant, according to the Ministry of Health.
Today is International Cochlear Implant Day.