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March 2018 Australian Financial Review
Cochlear chief executive Dig Howitt discussed the secrets of global success at the AFR's Business Summit.
Dig Howitt is clear on the ingredients that combined to make Cochlear a world leader in hearing implants and one of Australia's most successful global companies: a global mindset, long-term vision and investment in continued innovation. But the Cochlear chief executive is not so sure Australia has the recipe exactly right to create more global successes like Cochlear, which was floated in 1994 at $2 a share and last traded at $179. Mr Howitt has been Cochlear chief executive for two months. His 17-year career at Cochlear has until now been preoccupied with overseeing manufacturing and the global supply chain, then running Asian operations. Cochlear invests around 12 per cent of revenue each year in research and development, reaching between $160 million to $170 million this financial year. That has allowed it to develop new products like the Nucleus 7, a world-first sound processor that allows patients to stream sound straight from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to their hearing implant.
My name is Olivia and I was born with a sensory-neural bilateral hearing impairment. I have lived most of my life with a mild-moderate hearing loss in the left ear and moderate-severe in the right, affecting my ability to hear high-frequency sounds. That’s why I need to wear bilateral hearing aids.
Today, I am on my journey to receive a cochlear implant in my right ear, after experiencing further loss in my right ear to a profound level and moderate-severe in my left ear.
The Shepherd Centre:
The Shepherd Centre gave my family and me wonderful support for more than 3 years, putting us into a program when I was first diagnosed at the age of 2 ½ years old right up till I started school. As part of this program, I started receiving help with my speech and language so I could function better in the speaking world, rather than rely on signing for the rest of my life. I also received support from an Audiologist, Teachers of the Hearing Impaired and Speech Pathologists at the recommendation of The Shepherd Centre.
Now, I am appreciative of the help and support I received from these professionals and I feel it is time for me to return my appreciation and show current children and parents who attend how far I have come.