A world-first study, by researchers at the University of Melbourne, has shown deaf, primary school students with double cochlear implants perform much better during exams than those with only one implant.
Dr Julia Sarant and her team at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, found children using bilateral cochlear implants achieved significantly higher scores for maths, oral language and written language. The study also found that the younger the recipient using double implants, the bigger the improvement in academic performance.
As a result of this study, the New Zealand Government now fully subsidises bilateral cochlear implants. However, this operation is yet to be publicly funded in Australia. Dr. Sarant is pleading to our Federal Government to follow New Zealand’s lead and subsidise bicochlear implants, so our hearing-impaired students have the best chance at school. Thanks for keeping our Australian youth clever, Melb Uni.
Current state of funding Bilateral Cochlear implants in Australia (as provided by the University of Melbourne):
- Public funding does not exist for simultaneous bilateral cochlear implants as a separate operating procedure. The second implant borrows from the traditional funding for all implants at the hospital.
- Public funding exists for a capped number of implant surgeries per year in the public system. It is up to the treating team, the patient and their family to decide whether to implant bilaterally.
- Work is still required to secure sufficient public funding for simultaneous bilateral cochlear implants.
- For families with private health insurance, a second implant is insured for, but again the procedure for bilateral cochlear implants is not well covered by existing MBS items.
[img source] The University of Melbourne
The above story is based on materials provided by the University of Melbourne