Linkin Soal (5) with his parents Sharon and Gary and their
dog Mazy last week. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A Dunedin mother is ''over the moon'' the Government will
fund her son's second cochlear implant, saying money raised for
his operation will be given to a child who does not qualify for
the expand programme.
Sharon Soal said yesterday she was ''ecstatic'' about Health
Minister Tony Ryall's pre-Budget announcement that children
with profound hearing loss will now receive two funded
cochlear implants, and children under 6 with only one implant
will be offered a second funded implant.
The Budget, on May 15, would provide an extra $6.3 million
over four years for a bilateral cochlear implant programme.
At present, children with severe to profound hearing loss in
both ears receive one funded cochlear implant. From July,
affected children would receive two.
''A single implant has been the standard treatment for
children with profound hearing loss. International best
practice has changed and the Ministry of Health has updated
their policy as a result,'' Mr Ryall said in a press release.
''Some families have already privately funded a second
implant for their child. We will provide these children with
free follow-up services, such as repairs, replacement speech
processors and spare batteries.
''In addition to the $6.3 million for children's bilateral
cochlear implants, there will also be a one-off $1.1 million
funding boost to reduce the wait list for adults requiring
Mrs Soal launched a fundraising campaign this month for
$50,000 to fund a second implant for son Linkin (5).
As Linkin met the age criteria for the expanded programme,
Mrs Soal was giving the more than $900 she had raised to a
New Plymouth family whose child did not meet the criteria.
Mrs Soal said she knew the Government was looking at the
issue, but had not expected a result so soon.
''I can't put my emotion into a single word. I'm just so over
About 86 people receive cochlear implants each year
Up to 16 are infants
30 are children 2-18
40 are adults