Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Annual Report 2016

Explore Industry Partnerships, Merger and Acquisition Opportunities, Synergistic Alliances, and New Program and Service Developments

In 2016, we continued to explore opportunities to expand our services and partner with other organisations that are aligned with RIDBC’s vision and mission.

Australian Hearing Consortium

Throughout 2016, RIDBC, Macquarie University and Cochlear Limited worked together as a Consortium to put forward a proposal to Government regarding options for the potential transfer of Australian Hearing into nongovernment ownership.

The Consortium’s driver is the wellbeing of all Australians with hearing loss and our proposal is focused on honouring Australian Hearing’s original intent; safeguarding clients of the Community Service Obligation (CSO) program including children, the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and complex adults; addressing areas of service growth and unmet need; and ultimately providing an enhanced service and improved hearing health outcomes for all Australians.

Further, the Consortium approach seeks to extend upon Australia’s already world-leading hearing services, providing a total end to end service for people with hearing loss, including access to integrated assessment, diagnostics, hearing aids, cochlear implantation, therapy, education and additional rehabilitation and support services.

As this report goes to press, the Government is yet to make a decision about this potential privatisation. In the meantime, the Consortium continues to explore ways to work with, and build upon Australian Hearing’s significant achievements, continuing to improve services for Australians with hearing loss while also minimising the significant health and social impacts of hearing loss.

Sector Collaboration

Throughout 2016, RIDBC participated in a number of collaborative opportunities with other organisations in our sector. These included:

Cochlear’s Global Ambassador Brett Lee with
RIDBC cochlear implant recipient Austin and his
mother Sheeba (also an RIDBC employee) on
Channel 9’s Today Show, for Hearing Awareness
Week 2016

Caption: Cochlear’s Global Ambassador Brett Lee with RIDBC cochlear implant recipient Austin and his mother Sheeba (also an RIDBC employee) on Channel 9’s Today Show, for Hearing Awareness Week 2016

Bone Conduction Implantable Device (BCID) Pilot Program

In June 2016, NSW Health partnered with RIDBC’s SCIC Cochlear Implant Program to establish a BCID pilot program to help adults in NSW suffering from conductive hearing loss, improve their quality of life.

A funding contribution of $1.071 million was provided to support the roll out of this pilot program across a number of public hospitals in NSW, from 2016 until 30 June 2019.

This pilot will assist NSW Health in identifying the potential cost benefits and outcomes that can be achieved with BCID. At the conclusion of the pilot, results will be reviewed and the case for extension of funding or recurrent funding will be determined.

Jessica’s Story

21 year old university student Jessica from Auburn, received her second cochlear implant from A/Prof Birman.

Jessica pictured outside Macquarie
University just prior to her second cochlear
implant surgery

Caption: Jessica pictured outside Macquarie University just prior to her second cochlear implant surgery

Jessica was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at 12 months of age and hasn’t looked back since receiving her first cochlear implant at just 22 months.

“I cannot imagine a world without sound. My cochlear implant has allowed me to dream big, explore opportunities and connect with other people around me. Deafness is not a hindrance, but an amazing part of my identity which I have used to leverage myself to greater ambitions,” said Jessica.

“I was nervous but also excited about receiving my second cochlear implant and I’m very much looking forward to hearing sounds through my right ear and no longer having to adjust my position accordingly,” said Jessica. Jessica recommends others struggling with their hearing to investigate the options available.

“Don’t be afraid to shout out to the world about your deafness. I know you might be struggling with your hearing. I struggled at one point but everyone has his or her own challenges. Did you know that by 2050, 1 in 4 Australians are projected to have some form of hearing loss? You’re not alone so step up to the challenge and take action to educate yourself on your hearing levels and set daily goals to manage your hearing.”