TODAY |

Surf lifesaver who has waited years for cochlear implant facing prospect of being deaf within months

Volunteer lifeguard Danielle Mackay will be totally deaf in six months after waiting three years for a cochlear implant.

In that time she has completely lost hearing in one ear.  

"I love hearing all the basic things in life, like hearing the cars parking, the trains tooting, people's voices, my family's voices, and even the tui singing in the morning," she told 1 NEWS.

"I don't want to lose those things. I'm really scared," she said. 

Ms Mackay recently received a letter from health officials informing her she would not be getting an implant this year. 

"I feel like, why am I not important?"

According to the Ministry of Health, there are 214 adults on the waiting list for implants, with a cost of up to $90,000 to go private. 

The government spends just over $8 million per year on cochlear implants, enough for about 40 to 70 adults. 

Minister for Disabilities Nicky Wagner said the waiting list is prioritised, with the average wait time of 13 months. 

Green MP Mojo Mathers said there should be double the operations. 

"They should just simply fund everyone who needs a cochlear implant, they need to clear the backlog," Ms Mathers said. 

To donate to Danielle's cochlear implant, click here

Danielle Mackay has been waiting for years for an implant, but there's a long waiting list. Source: 1 NEWS