Health Minister for Sport and Recreation in the New Zealand Parliament, Jonathan Coleman, said $6.5 million (approximately $4.71 million USD) will be invested into the adult cochlear implants program to increase access, the National Party announced on its website.

“For those with profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can be a life-changing procedure,” said Coleman. “Access to funded cochlear implants have increased significantly under this government. In 2014 we expanded the children’s program, so our under- 18s could receive bilateral implants, with no waiting list. In 2013, we also increased the number of funded cochlear implants for adults from 20 to 40 a year. However, we want even more adults to benefit,” he said.

“That’s why we’re investing an extra $6.5 million into the adult program for 2017/2018,” said Coleman. “This will increase the Cochlear Implant Program’s total funding to $14.93 million [approximately $10.82 million USD]. The total number of funded cochlear implants for adults will go from 40 to 100 for 2017/2018, an increase of 150%.”

“The investment will also increase the capacity within the system and cover the additional audiology and rehabilitation time required to support such a massive uplift,” Coleman said.

The extra $6.5 million (approximately $4.71 million USD) will come from reprioritization within Vote Health.

According to the National Party, around 86 New Zealanders receive funded cochlear implants each year. Up to 16 are infants, 30 are children aged 2-18 years, and 40 are adults. There are currently around 224 adults on the waiting list for a funded cochlear implant, which costs about $45,000 total for surgery, implant, and switch-on. The processors need to be replaced about every six to seven years, at a cost of about $10,000 per replacement.

Source: National Party website