Former New Zealand cricketing legend Lance Cairns talked about the life-changing impact of having a cochlear implant when he spoke at the official opening of The Stichbury Bidwill Centre.
The centre, in Greenlane, Auckland is home to The Hearing House – a charity for more than 800 deaf children and adults with cochlear implants and hearing aids.
“The difference in life is just so incredible,” Lance said. “I want to see far more people being implanted because of the difference it makes to life, to everything.
“I went from hiding, I didn’t want to go anywhere or talk to people, and now everything is normal – back to a real life,” he said.
The centre was officially opened by Associate Minister of Health Hon. Julie Anne Genter on July 6.
The $8 million centre, funded by 35 very generous individuals, trusts, foundations, corporates and the government, is also a hub for organisations that specialise in the area of listening and spoken language.
SoundSkills, the Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust (START) and the Hearing Research Foundation are all tenants in the centre.
Alison Winstanley, 17, is profoundly deaf and has two cochlear implants. She spoke at the official opening and said she is “not unique”.
“There are lots of children like me who are now becoming young adults and we are a new generation of hearing and speaking deaf people.
“We will be able to pursue our dreams and there will be no limit to what we can achieve in the future.”
Minister Genter acknowledged the inspiring stories shared by Lance and Alison.
“They really illustrate the transformational benefits of cochlear implants and all of the support that enables people to use them.
“I’m humbled to think of all the people, children and adults alike, who will find assistance within these walls to do three of the most essential things – to listen, to speak and therefore to connect.”
The Hearing House has been supporting deaf people for 20 years and chief executive Scott Johnston says it is exciting to be based in a state-of-the-art facility that is fit for purpose and will future proof the charity for the next 20-30 years.
The centre has four therapy rooms, four audiology booths, a home suite, an online services room and a community room.
“The facilities, functions and technology within this building mean we can provide the best services possible for all the clients that come here,” Scott said.