In April 2021, Life Unlimited and the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP), embarked on a collaboration to improve the accessibility of cochlear implant services for people in Taranaki.
Cochlear implant recipients in Taranaki previously traveled to SCIP’s Wellington clinic, supported by visiting clinics to New Plymouth once or twice a year. Life Unlimited now works in partnership with the multi-disciplinary SCIP team, delivering a “remote” (telehealth) service.
Taranaki based Life Unlimited Hearing Therapist, Melita Peseli, supports the client in person during a mapping (programming) process, while the SCIP audiologist consults virtually from the Wellington clinic. This ensures the recipient gets the appropriate therapy to ‘relearn’ hearing without the inconvenience of a trip to SCIP’s Wellington clinic.
Cochlear implants offer great hearing improvement in most cases and are an option available when hearing aids are no longer effective in providing adequate access to speech sounds.
With more than 1500 adults already enjoying the benefits of cochlear implants in Aotearoa New Zealand, it was important to find a way to make the service more accessible for people, regardless of where they live in the country.
Whilst the Taranaki pilot is still in its development stage, both parties hope to expland the collaboration so more people can enjoy the benefits of a cochlear implant.
During the first six months of the initiative, nineteen people have benefited from the new service.