In addition to the funding being given to push the Healthy Hearing Programme to provide cochlear implant surgery for children who need it, the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust has purchased 60 individual hearing aids at a cost of $30 000, to create the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust Children’s Hearing Aid Bank.

Phillipa Challis, one of the trustees of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, made the announcement yesterday, during a press conference held at the Sandy Lane Country Club, to announce the first cochlear implant surgery to ever take place on the island. On Monday May 23, two-year-old J’dae Prescott-Griffith was the first to receive the life-changing operation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), to enable her to have the gift of hearing.

“The aim of this bank is to quickly eliminate the backlog of children that have been waiting for free government issued hearing aids. We know that there are approximately 20 children on the waiting list and in some cases, the wait has been over two years,” Challis indicated.

“The patients will be referred by all the participating partners and the Trust will conduct its usual means test and then the Children’s Development Centre (CDC) will then administer the hearing aids and the follow up testing and treatments,” she added.

“Whilst this is a huge expense for the Trust, it is felt that this money is very well spent and it will change the lives of so many children,” she further stated.

Challis revealed that already, five children have been fitted with hearing aids. She also noted that the company Phonak (the manufacturers of hearing technology for children and adults), has given the Trust a good deal on its hearing aids, and has also provided the Trust with loaners “for when the inevitable problems happen”. The company has also issued a superb warrantee period and will be offering free support. (RSM)

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