Following a major breakthrough in the provision of cochlear implants for profoundly deaf children and adults, the latest drive to raise awareness of the procedure has been launched on campaigning website, World of Sound.
World of Sound talks to professionals, parents and implant recipients, gathering their comments about the impact of changes following the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on cochlear implants announced earlier this year.
The website, sponsored by leading cochlear implant manufacturer, Cochlear Europe, aims to raise awareness of this amazing technology which can give profoundly deaf children and adults equal opportunities to their hearing peers.
Amanda Whiffin, General Manager at Cochlear Europe, explains: "Parents of children who are already benefiting from bilateral cochlear implants (one in each ear) tell their stories. As one parent once said, "you wouldn't expect a child who wears spectacles to have just one lens, so why expect a deaf child to only hear in one ear"
The aim of the World of Sound campaign is to spread the word to hearing professionals and members of the public, to make sure they are aware of what is now available from their Primary Care Trust (PCT) - who provide the funding for the procedure. Amanda Whiffin continues: "We are also keen to raise awareness among those on the referral pathway - to reach GPs, schools, hospital audiology departments - so they are aware of the huge benefits of bilateral cochlear implantation for children and the changes in availability for adults."
Visitors to World of Sound can read clear and concise answers to questions asked by parents debating whether or not to progress down the cochlear implant route for their child. Hearing professionals and charities talk about why the decision to allow children to have bi-laterals is so important and how eligible adults, previously victims of the postcode lottery, now have access to unilateral cochlear implants from the NHS.
"This is certainly a milestone in the UK, which was lagging considerably behind the rest of Europe, where bilateral implantation has been available for some time," says Amanda Whiffin, "NICE will review its guidance in 2011, but in the meantime the industry will be carefully monitoring research on the benefits of two implants, rather than one. We are very confident of the positive outcome and optimistic that, by then, the guidance will also recommend bilateral implantation for adults.
This is the third campaign on World of Sound, following in the footsteps of the debate on postcode lottery funding for cochlear implants, and raising awareness of bone anchored hearing solutions.