Dunedin parents Gary and Sharon Soal with son Linkin and
the family dog Mazy in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Gregor
One cochlear implant made life less frustrating for
Dunedin boy Linkin Soal, and now his parents are fundraising
for a second.
The Government pays for one implant and many families are
faced with raising about $50,000 for a second, Sharon Soal,
Linkin's mother, said.
The benefits of a second implant included directional sound,
and an ability to filter out extraneous noise, which would
improve his language skills, Mrs Soal said.
Since the implant was fitted in December last year, he was
happier, and less likely to become frustrated by an inability
His language skills had improved in the relatively short time
since the implant was fitted.
Mrs Soal said the family would fund additional costs, such as
travel and accommodation, and sought to raise funds only for
Any additional money raised would be given to other families
in the same position.
She set up a fundraising page on the internet a few days ago,
which had raised $370 by yesterday afternoon. People could
give by visiting the ''Give a Little'' website, and searching
for Linkin's name.
Mrs Soal believed the Government should fund both implants,
which was the practice in many other countries.
It reduced the total cost if implants were fitted in the same
operation, as it meant one surgery instead of two.
Southern Cochlear Implant Programme general manager Neil
Heslop, of Christchurch, said New Zealand's policy on implant
funding was likely to change at some stage.
''Bilateral implants is something we are moving towards, and
the question is when, not if.''
However, children with one implant could still achieve highly
and attain good language skills, he said.