Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher TD, has called on the Government to ensure that funding will be provided for all children with hearing difficulties in need of cochlear implants.
Deputy Kelleher raised the issue during a special Dáil debate this evening and called on the Government to follow through on its commitment to address the fact that children with hearing difficulties only receive one cochlear implant at present.
“All international evidence suggests that children who are born with hearing difficulties are at a huge advantage if they receive two cochlear implants instead of one. The Government needs to ensure that sequential bi-lateral implantation for these children is provided to give them a better chance to progress.
“It is inherently unfair on children to have only one cochlear implant. Having a second one allows these children to reach their full potential. It is proven that children with bi-lateral implants show marked improvements in their development and it is only fair that they are afforded this opportunity.
“I welcome the fact that Dr Gary Norman has been appointed as national Audiology Clinical Lead to oversee the implementation of a bi-lateral cochlear implant programme. This along with a national hearing screening programme for new-born children will vastly improve the services we have in Ireland.
“The Government has committed to supporting these programmes but the necessary funding must be provided to make this a success. I am calling on Minister Reilly to follow through on his commitment and ensure this funding is forthcoming.”