Investment to reduce cochlear implant waitlist


The Labour Government will invest $6 million for 70 additional adult cochlear implants this year to significantly reduce the historical waitlist, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“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,” Andrew Little said.

“This investment will have an immediate effect by reducing the historical adult wait list,” Andrew Little said.

As at 31 December 2020, the adult cochlear implant waitlist was 269. The additional 70 implants are expected to be delivered by 30 June 2021.

“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,” Andrew 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 funds $8.7 million for 86 cochlear implants -16 newborns, 30 children and 40 adults. The Ministry also funds around $25 million each year to support over 23,000 people access hearing aids through the Ministry's Hearing Aid Funding and Subsidy schemes.

There are currently more than 1600 New Zealanders with a cochlear implant. Today is International Cochlear Implant Day.