• Geelong Cochlear Care Centre will expand access to specialist audiologist support for Victorians living with severe to profound hearing loss
  • Official opening coincides with National Hearing Awareness Week
  • Professor Graeme Clark, the inventor of the multi-channel cochlear implant and the Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, Minister for Health, will officially open the Centre

Geelong, Australia - 27 February 2018: Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions in collaboration with the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Victorian Government, represented by Health Minister, The Hon. Jill Hennessy, will today officially open the first regional Cochlear Care Centre, set to provide services for Geelong and surrounding communities.

Previously, the only Cochlear Care Centre in Victoria was based in East Melbourne just down the road from the Eye and Ear. The new Geelong Cochlear Care Centre will help over 400 cochlear implant recipients with their cochlear implant process, who were previously undertaking up to 12 trips to East Melbourne in their first year1. The centre has the potential to help thousands more living with hearing loss. It is estimated 168,000 Victorians live with severe-to-profound hearing loss2, *.

"This ground-breaking new centre will help more Victorians receive the life-changing assistance they need to hear, and will reaffirm Victoria's status as a world leader in hearing health care," said Ms Hennessy.

"Victoria is a world leader in diagnosing and treating hearing loss with its newborn hearing screening programme, world leading research facilities, such as the Hearing CRC and Bionics Institute, and state government supported medical facilities, such as the Eye and Ear."

"The Geelong Cochlear Care Centre will offer world-class support and provide more Victorians with severe to profound hearing loss access to quality hearing health services, regardless of where they live," Minister Hennessy said.

According to Dig Howitt, CEO and President of Cochlear, the new centre sets the bar for regional care.

"The Geelong Cochlear Care Centre is another step in our journey to provide support to Australians living with severe to profound hearing loss. We're delighted to be able to open this centre and honour our historical links by supporting the Victorian community. Graeme Clark invented the multi-channel cochlear implant right here in Victoria, and Victoria continues to be at the forefront of innovation for hearing health care," Mr Howitt said.

The new centre is a continuation of the 35 year relationship between Cochlear and The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. The centre will provide specialist audiological services, such as implant assessment, programming, and streamlined pre-operative counselling. New recipients of cochlear implants from The Royal Victorian Ear and Eye Hospital can also be treated at the centre.

Jenni Bliss, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nurse Officer at the Eye and Ear said, "We are excited to expand our service with the potential to help thousands more living with hearing loss in regional Victoria."

"Almost one-in-four patients of our Cochlear Implant Clinic live more than 100km from East Melbourne3. This new centre provides a crucial service to the 400 active cochlear implant recipients living in Western Victoria, ensuring that more adults and children can access care without excessive travel time and cost."

Ballarat resident and 82-year-old bilateral cochlear implant recipient, William Burgess, was one of the first to visit the new centre saying, "The short trip to Geelong is marvellous! I use a walker so I find it difficult to navigate public transport in Melbourne. Being closer to home for my appointments gives me confidence that I'll get the help I need when I need it. It will also give me back the time I'd waste travelling to Melbourne - it will be so much easier for me," he said.

The opening of the Geelong Cochlear Care Centre coincides with national Hearing Awareness Week (25 Feb to 3 Mar 2018), which aims to raise awareness of hearing loss and highlight the needs of Australians who are deaf or live with hearing loss.

About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of more than 3,000 people and invests more than AUD$150 million a year in research and development. Products include hearing systems for cochlear implants, bone conduction and acoustic implants, which are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. Over 450,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear.

About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss represents a significant global health burden with over 5 percent of the world's population - 360 million people – living with disabling hearing loss4. According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 72 million people who could potentially benefit from the use of a hearing device including a cochlear implant or hearing aid5.

For all media enquiries, please contact: 
Kizia Maughan 
Account Manager 
0422 026 230 

Nicola Edwards 
Manager, Marketing and Communications 
The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital 
0428 037 752