Aug 2017 Port Macquarie News
Twenty four patients had cochlear implants at Port Macquarie Base Hospital in the first year of the service. The surgery and follow-up care are available in Port Macquarie. Patients previously had to travel at least to Newcastle, if not Sydney, to access the service. Ear and cochlear implant surgeon Dr Jonathan Kong said cochlear implants allowed people to connect with their community and families. “Cochlear implantation is an option when some people have given up hope on having hearing,” he said. “It can provide a solution when non-surgical solutions, such as a hearing aid, are unable to.”
Dr Kong said people should ask about cochlear implants if they are unsure. “Not all will be candidates but they should at least be asking the question,” he said. Dr Kong said he was proud to be part of a team that provided a local cochlear implant service. He said the surgery was relatively routine, but still major surgery, and it was tolerated very well even by the elderly. Patients usually experience an overnight stay in hospital and a follow-up visit one week later with a GP to have a wound check. The device is switched on at the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre Port Macquarie about two weeks later. Multiple visits will be required to program the device processor as each individual will require different support. Port Macquarie Base Hospital cochlear implant service caters for young adults to the elderly. Patients come from the Mid-North Coast to the Queensland border. Children and adolescents are still catered for in Sydney.