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A Charitable Foundation grant has funded new services for people treated for hearing loss

24 October, 2018.

People on the Mid North Coast of NSW now have access to full end-to-end cochlear implant services, previously only available in Sydney and Newcastle, thanks in part to a grant from the Charitable Foundation.

The new ‘end-to-end’ service is provided by Port Macquarie Base Hospital and the city’s newly refurbished Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) centre. The RIDBC centre refurbishment was funded from donations and grants including a $61,800 grant from the Charitable Foundation, and its reopening this month means people with hearing loss have access to the latest technology and expert care. 

RIDBC Chief Executive Chris Rehn said people with hearing loss in the region now had access to world-class care.

“The on-going support required for people needing cochlear implant services in country areas is significant,” he said. “Partnering with the local health district (Mid North Coast Local health District) has enabled us to provide the Mid North Coast community with a level of care that previously wasn’t possible without traveling to Newcastle or Sydney.”

The RIDBC centre can now provide patients with assessment, surgery coordination, allied health services, and ongoing post-implementation support for children and adults, as well as early intervention programs for children with hearing loss and a base for regional outreach programs.

The Charitable Foundation grant enabled RIDBC to purchase and install a dedicated audiometric sound room. The acoustic design of the room eliminates outside sounds and noise so accurate assessments can be conducted.

Phil Neat, Chair of the Charitable Foundation, said the grant would greatly reduce the amount of travel that patients would need to make to get the medical care they required. 

 “One of the major barriers to receiving a cochlear implant for those living in northern NSW is the frequent travel,” he said. “We firmly believe that the quality of healthcare you receive should not be dictated by your postcode. We’re proud to have played a major role in bringing local access to full hearing assessments to the Port Macquarie and northern NSW regions.”

Find out more about RIDBC’s Cochlear Implant Program

Cochlear implant recipient
RIDBC Audiologist Elise Coombs (left) with Port Macquarie resident and cochlear implant recipient Marianne Kilmurray.

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