The number of adults in New Zealand receiving cochlear implants for severe or profound hearing loss is to triple this financial year thanks to an additional $2.6 million of one-off funding, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

 “At least 60 adults will receive cochlear implants this financial year—annual funding typically allows for 20 cochlear implants for adults,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

“In Budget 2012, we announced one-off funding of $1.3 million for additional cochlear implants and follow-up services for adults and children,” says Ryall. “We are doubling the one-off funding this year to $2.6 million. Currently, adults can wait around 2 years for a cochlear implant; however, some wait longer depending on their clinical priority. This extra funding will reduce waiting times for adults and significantly improve the lives of those who receive them.” 

The total funding for adult and child cochlear implants in New Zealand this financial year is over $8 million, according to the Ministry of Health. There is no waiting list for implants for children, and each year around 30 children and 16 newborns receive a cochlear implant. Each implant costs between $45,000 and $55,000. The funded service includes the device, surgery, and ongoing support including maintenance.