Cochlear benefits from ageing population

An ageing population and the growing awareness of the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is driving global demand for Cochlear's bionic ears.

Chief executive Dr Chris Roberts said new research has found that hearing loss as part of the ageing process could accelerate cognitive decline.

"If you look at countries like Australia and the US, where more people are ageing, you'll find more people over 65 receiving a cochlear implants as opposed to children," he told AAP.

The comments were made as Cochlear posted a first-half net profit of $77.7 million, up from a $20.4 million loss in the previous corresponding period when it was forced to issue a costly mass recall of its Nucleus C1500 series.

Dr Roberts acknowledged that the recall was difficult for the company but said it had worked hard to regain the trust of doctors and recipients.

"The issue in life is not whether things are challenges, it's how you deal with them," he said.

"I think the team right across Cochlear, right across the world has done a great job working with the cochlear implant community, professional and recipients to really work through that.

"I'd like to think we continue to get the trust of people."

The Nucleus C1500 series was recalled in late 2011 after leaky seals caused the bionic ear device to break down.

Dr Roberts said the issues with the product had been addressed and it would return to the market but there was no date set for its re-release.

He was also pleased to discover that the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, Malala Yousufzai, received a Cochlear implant.

"You've got to jump out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step and knowing that you're doing the right thing to help people and giving the gift of hearing to people is really a wonderful thing and is very motivating," he said.

The improved first half profit result was due to Cochlear selling a record 13,672 implants during the six months.

Cochlear implant sales grew 27 per cent on the previous corresponding period and were 11 per cent on the second half of fiscal 2012.

Dr Roberts said Cochlear had also maintained its margins despite a high Australian dollar.

However, despite the improved profit result Cochlear shares closed $7.50, or 9.32 per cent lower at $72.96.

Bell Direct analyst Julia Lee said while Cochlear's earnings had improved, it was still below market expectations of $81.2 million for the half year.

"It's come in under expectations and there's been a bit of profit taking as well," she said.

"The shares have been up by about 40 per cent over the past year so there was a lot of optimism built into the stock."

Cochlear declared a partly franked interim dividend of $1.25 per share, up from $1.20 previously.

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