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Profound hearing loss: do not suffer in isolation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA RELEASE
PR.11.01

‘Break the Silence’ initiative urges those with profound hearing loss not to “suffer in isolation”


20 November 2006 – The ‘Break the Silence’ initiative marks the 20th anniversary of the first Cochlear implant in New Zealand. Led by the Northern Cochlear Implant Trust (NCIT) and Cochlear Ltd, the pioneers of Cochlear implant technology, the initiative aims to raise awareness of Cochlear implants and the many benefits.

Hearing loss affects 1 in 10 people worldwide, and approximately 400,000 New Zealanders have hearing difficulties, a large proportion of whom suffer from severe to profound hearing loss. Many are unnecessarily isolated by deafness because their hearing loss is left undetected or untreated, and they are unaware of the hearing options open to them.

Since the first Cochlear implant operation in December 1986, almost 400 people in New Zealand have had their hearing restored with a Cochlear implant. Currently 110 adults are on the waiting list for treatment.

Jeremy Rosser, New Zealand Country Manager for Cochlear Ltd, says: “Too many people are suffering in silence. We need to raise awareness of Cochlear implants and ensure individuals know the hearing options available to them. We also need to encourage various sources of funding so that more people, especially adults, can take advantage of the latest technology. Cochlear implants have come a long way in 20 years, and the latest Nucleus Freedom model is state-of-the-art, giving recipients a life-changing experience in terms of hearing quality and clarity.”

A key element of the campaign is the launch of the Pindrop Foundation. Set up by the Northern Cochlear Implant Trust, the Foundation aims to help secure essential funding, raise public interest, increase understanding and backing for cochlear implants as well as support current recipients.

Professor Di McCarthy, Chair of the Pindrop Foundation and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Associate Dean, Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland, comments: “It is important we promote and educate the general public about the benefits of cochlear implants, not only for individuals, but also for the community from an economic and social perspective. We are looking to raise funds of over $250,000 in the next six months. This will be used to increase the number of cochlear implants performed with private funds and promote efficient and effective delivery of health services associated with audiology and surgery rehabilitation.”

Robyn Carter, a recipient for nearly fourteen years, comments on the technology: “The Cochlear implant has made a tremendous impact on my life. I have experienced far better career prospects, with my salary almost doubling in the first three years following the implant. I’m also now able to enjoy those things that most people take for granted such as hearing the birds sing and listening to my favourite music on the ipod. It really has made such a huge difference to the quality of my life.”

The official ‘Break the Silence’ event, incorporating the launch of the Pindrop Foundation, will take place this Wednesday, 22 November, 10.30am – 12noon, at Old Government House, City Campus University of Auckland. For further enquiries please contact Victoria Jones on victoriaj@bulletpr.co.nz

ENDS

Notes to Editors:-

A Cochlear implant is a device that provides hearing sensations for severely and profoundly deaf individuals who derive no significant benefit from hearing aids. Unlike hearing aids, which merely amplify sound, a cochlear implant bypasses the damaged part of the ear and stimulates the hearing nerve directly.

Cochlear Ltd is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. In the world today, more than 100,000 people have had their lives changed with ground-breaking developments from Cochlear. For further information please visit www.cochlear.com

The Northern Cochlear Implant Trust (NCIT) was established in 2005 to meet the needs of an increasing number of cochlear implant recipients and potential recipients. The Trust has established The Pindrop Foundation as its public face and fundraising body. For further information please visit www.pindrop.org.nz (live from launch day – 22 Nov 06)


ENDS

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