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Cochlear Implants

FMC’s Cochlear implant program boosted

More South Australians with hearing impairments will be able to receive cochlear implants with the extension of a Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) program offering additional procedures.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said increased and ongoing funding for the Adult Cochlear Implant Program will see the number of yearly procedures from 10 to 15.

The enhanced program will reduce surgery wait times and more importantly, improve the quality of life for more South Australians.

“I am pleased to announce 50 per cent more South Australians will have access to this sound-restoring surgery which significantly improves the quality of life for those with a hearing impairment,” Minister Wade said.

“While urgent cases are prioritised, there are currently 20 people on surgical lists waiting to have this life-changing procedure and some have been waiting for up to three years from time of referral.

“As well as this, more than 50 people are on monitoring lists, in the process of an assessment or waiting to be assessed.

“We know that in many cases, hearing impairments leave people feeling isolated and emotionally distressed, so these surgeries can be life-altering. We’re also facing an ageing population with complex health needs and it’s vital our health services are well-equipped to cater for current and future demands.”

FMC is the only public hospital in South Australia to offer the complex surgery to adults, with the program including a multidisciplinary team of Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) cochlear implant surgeons as well as specialised audiology and mental health support.

Head of Unit for the ENT Department at FMC, Associate Professor Eng Ooi, said he had personally seen the improvements made to people’s lives thanks to the implant procedure.

“FMC is the only site equipped to deliver these sensitive procedures in one location and we’re proud of what we have achieved,” Associate Professor Ooi said.

“This extension will ensure we can continue to provide a high quality and timely service to our patients.

“FMC is also responsible for treating regional patients with hearing impairments and we’re delighted that we will be able to provide better access to this type of surgery for those living in rural locations.

“We often see a patient’s first reaction when they are able to hear properly after years of gradually losing their hearing or having life-long hearing impairments – it’s truly a remarkable moment.”

The sounds of life a joy for Bruce

The simple sound of a doorbell ringing, or the rhymthic ‘tick tick’ of his car indicators, brings joy to Bruce Carroll.

After inexplicably losing his hearing over a two year period, and waiting four years for a cochlear implant, Bruce is getting used to the sounds of life again after having a cochlear implant fitted at Flinders Medical Centre in February 2017.

“I can’t explain how happy I am to be able to hear again and live a normal life; just to hear music or the phone ringing is wonderful. Living without hearing is living in a world of your own.”

“Having a cochlear implant has made a huge improvement to the quality of my life and I say a warm thanks to the doctors, nurses and the team in the Audiology Clinic at Flinders Medical Centre.”

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