04 June 2017

Up to 370 adults with severe hearing loss will have their “bionic ears” upgraded, thanks to a $2.83 million funding boost from the NSW Government.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the upgrade to all outdated Cochlear implants worn by NSW adult public patients will significantly enhance their everyday lives.

“Every single hearing-impaired adult patient in the NSW public health system will now be able to continue to enjoy the quality of life that this amazing Australian invention provides,” Mr Hazzard said.

“For many, the upgrading will mean a huge improvement in everyday pleasures that most people take for granted, like making a phone call or listening to music.”

The $2.83 million will allow the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIBDC) to purchase and coordinate the replacement of up to 370 Cochlear sound processors for NSW public patients before they become obsolete at the end of 2019.

The replacement of the sound processor will be done free of charge at a patient’s routine audiology appointment and does not require extra surgery.

RIBDC’s Chief Executive Chris Rehn said the upgrades will be life-changing for recipients – it will greatly improve their social life and, for some, enable them to stay in the workforce.

“This significant funding boost means that hundreds of NSW Cochlear implant recipients will be able to remain connected and continue to enjoy a world of better hearing,” Mr Rehn said.

A Cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear (cochlea). Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, they do the work of the damaged cochlea to provide sound signals to the brain.

The sound processors are the external devices that transmit digitally-coded sound through a coil on the outside of the head, to the implant.