DeafHear Regional News

Regional News

DeafHear Comment on Campaign for
Bilateral Implants for Deaf Children Comment on Campaign for Bilateral Implants for Deaf Children

Last month the Irish Examiner highlighted the situation where Deaf children are presently fitted with only one cochlear implant, while best practice internationally is that such children should receive two implants. Many studies have shown significant benefits for children’s development in terms of sound location and speech recognition. DeafHear supports the campaign by parents to provide children with bilateral implants, and estimates that this could be achieved at an annual additional cost of approximately €.5m per annum.

The Irish Examiner also reported that Beaumont Hospital had 350 children who had been fitted with one cochlear implant, on a waiting list for a second implant. The Irish Examiner quoted Beaumont Hospital’s Chief Executive as saying that 350 of the 360 children fitted with a cochlear implant since the programme began in 1995 (10 have been fitted with bilaeral implants for specific medical reasons) were on this list. This seems to indicate that the hospital is considering all of the children are suitable candidates for a second cochlear implant. DeafHear is of the view that this is inaccurate and is somewhat irresponsible. DeafHear believes that a significant number of these children, many of whom are in fact adults at this stage, are not suitable candidates for a second cochlear implant. To suggest that they are is to raise false hope of future benefits that are unlikely to be realised.

A number of research studies have shown that when there is a significant delay in fitting a second implant, there are reduced benefits from doing so, especially if the delay extends into late childhood. DeafHear believes that it would be important to identify and assess those who have had a cochlear implant fitted during childhood who are likely to benefit from a second implant. Priority should be given to those children who are more likely to be assessed as benefitting from a second cochlear implant. DeafHear believes that funding should be made available so that all of those children would be offered the opportunity of having a second implant fitted as soon as possible.

DeafHear welcomes the fact that the recent HSE 2013 Service Plan includes a commitment to complete the roll out of newborn hearing screening nationally, and to fill new development posts for audiology services. Niall Keane, DeafHear Chief Executive said ‘We urge the Minister for Health and Children to implement a policy of fitting a second cochlear implant to children who have been assessed as likely to benefit. In terms of the future, we estimate that approximately 20 newly diagnosed children per year will fall into this category.’


For further information contact:
Brendan Lennon

About DeafHear
DeafHear is a national charity providing specialist services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and their families. It also campaigns for the right to equal access and to promote awareness of the impact of hearing loss on individuals and public health.





more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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