Equipment & Funding
Following the diagnosis of hearing loss in a child by an audiologist, and following consultation with an ear nose and throat surgeon (also known as an otolaryngologist), the audiologist and adviser on deaf children will discuss with parents and families the types of hearing instruments available and which would be the most appropriate for their child. This discussion is held with parents and families who choose to pursue support for the stimulation of the auditory nervous system to facilitate listening and spoken language development. All parents and families of hearing impaired or deaf children who are keen for their child to develop spoken language skills and to use their residual hearing to its fullest potential will want to know about the types of hearing instruments available.
Children with loss of hearing sensitivity are less able to follow spoken conversation, hear radio or television, hear on the telephone, or hear sounds in their everyday world. The effects vary, depending on the degree and type of hearing loss. Hearing instruments are wearable electronic devices designed to improve reception of speech, music and environmental sounds for hearing impaired and deaf children.
The "Family Book" provides basic information to assist parents and families in understanding hearing instruments, how they work and how they are provided in New Zealand. The book may be obtained from your audiologist or adviser on deaf children. It should be read in conjunction with publications which address other modes of communication for children who are deaf. It is most important that parents of deaf children are aware of the various sign languages, and of their appropriateness and importance for some deaf children. Advisers on deaf children will be able to discuss aspects of signed communication.
Children may be eligible for full funding of hearing instruments if living and resident in New Zealand. Discussions about eligibility can be held with your audiologist. General information about access to Ministry of Health services can be seen at http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/eligibility-publicly-funded-health-services/guide-eligibility-publicly-funded-health-services-0
Information about funding for children's hearing instruments is available from the section headed "Resources" at http://www.accessable.co.nz/hearing.php
Repairs to children's hearing instruments are funded by the Ministry of Education, and provided by the two deaf education centres -- Kelston DEC in Auckland and Van Asch DEC in Christchurch. The funding also includes the provision of batteries and some consumable accessories.