Pune: City-based Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital recently performed cochlear implant surgeries on three children, aged less than two years, with profound hearing loss. This has helped in transforming their lives.
The children, who have been operated on, are from Pune and Latur. Up to 5 of every 1,000 infants are born with or develop disabling hearing loss in early childhood. It has also been proved that a child with hearing loss cannot develop speech and language abilities. This hampers the child’s learning at school, college and limits future professional opportunities. A cochlear implant is the only solution that can benefit children with severe or profound hearing loss. Unlike hearing aids, which simply amplify sound, a cochlear implant system bypasses the parts of the ear that no longer work properly and delivers sound in the form of signals to the hearing nerve.
Doctors estimate that around 360 million people, which is 5 per cent of the world’s population, suffer moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. Almost 9 per cent, which is 32 million of these, are children under the age of 15 years.
The cochlear implant team Hospital included surgeons Dr Shabbir Indorewala, Dr Vikram Oak and Dr Nilanjan Bhowmik, audiologist Nitish Kumar, rehabilitationists Vrushali Desai and Govind Rajopadhye and cochlear implant coordinator Rewa Indurkar.
Dr Oak, cochlear implant surgeon at the hospital, said there is definitely an urgent need for universal newborn screening in India. “Universal newborn hearing screening can identify hearing loss in babies at birth. This makes early intervention possible, thereby reducing the trauma of hearing loss. Medical technology has given birth to a great innovation in the form of a cochlear implant that can now restore one’s hearing ability,” said Dr Oak. Sharing the same opinion, Nitish Kumar, audiologist from the hospital, said early identification and treatment of hearing loss is crucial to the development of normal speech among young children.
Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital has planned a free screening camp from June 4 to 9. There will be free counselling sessions for parents, whose children need help.