Parents of deaf children plead for Budget support

The parents of more than 200 deaf children - who are in desperate need of bilateral cochlear implants - will hold a minute's silence outside the Dáil today.

Parents of deaf children plead for Budget support

The parents of more than 200 deaf children - who are in desperate need of bilateral cochlear implants - will hold a minute's silence outside the Dáil today.

They are waiting to find out whether the Government has decided to fund these implants in the health budget.

Each implant costs around €20,000 and it could take up to three weeks before the details of the health budget are revealed.

Supporters say that providing two cochlear implants is cost effective, as the savings in rehabilitation and support services required by these children outweighs the cost of a second device per child.

One parent of a child requiring implants compared the practice of giving just one ("unilateral") implant to "giving a shortsighted child glasses with only one lens".

"A child with a unilateral implant can hear a car coming but cannot know which direction it’s approaching from," said Orla Kennedy, a mother of two deaf children.

"So there are safety consideration to unilateral hearing."

"For my daughter, chances are it is already too late for her to get the full benefit of a second implant.

"This situation cannot continue for those children for whom time has not already run out, and those who are coming after."

Spokesperson for the Happy New Ear Campaign, Lorraine Murphy, says these children cannot wait any longer.

"These three weeks may seem like nothing to somebody who is involved in the Budget, but for our children, it means everything, because their nerve inside their ear, the ear that isn't implanted, is dying daily " she said.

"So I'm looking at my daughter and she could be one of the children who's going to fall through this net in three weeks.

"There's a huge urgency about this."

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