All ears for hearing impaired children

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Tollywood legends director SS Rajamouli and music composer MM Keeravani cheered on a group of children, some of whom were recently gifted to hear, in the city on Sunday.

The meeting was hosted at KIMS Hospital in Secunderabad, where about 50 of the 70 children underwent surgery, as part of a cochlear implant awareness program that involves an artificial hearing aid in the inner ear to correct hearing loss in children.

Unconscious

At the event, Mr Rajamouli said that despite government programs that support the cochlear implant, most parents do not have their children undergoing the operation.

“A child born with congenital deafness suffers from hearing loss, but this condition affects a child’s life much more. Children with hearing loss experience disadvantages in school, higher education and later in their working lives. This obstacle can be taken care of if they receive cochlear implants at the right age. This awareness program will help many hearing impaired people who may not be familiar with cochlear implant technology, ”he said, adding that he planned to launch an awareness campaign on Twitter soon.

Expressing similar concerns, Mr Keeravani said: “Every parent wants their child to grow up to their full potential. Hearing problems in children can be common. But, with cochlear implant technology, most of these children can hear again. They can start going to regular schools, read and talk like their friends, and enjoy music. These children can enjoy life to the fullest, ”he said.

Early intervention

Doctors performing the surgery have said that cochlear implants are effective, especially if done before the child is three years old, and that they are more effective if done before the child is three years old. ‘child does not reach 18 months.

Dr Janardhan Rao Jagini, ENT consultant at KIMS hospitals, shared some statistics: In India, 63 million people (6.3% of the population) suffer from significant hearing loss. Six in 1,000 children have severe to profound hearing loss; and more than a lakh of babies are born with hearing loss every year. “Children with severe to profound hearing loss should be identified as early as possible and most of them may need cochlear implant surgery within 12 months of their age. The age of their implantation plays a major role in the development of their speech and language skills. If nothing is done, these children grow up deaf and dumb and communicate through sign language ”.

For best results with cochlear implants, it is best to identify the problem as early as possible and perform the cochlear implant surgery within 12 months, said Shiva Prasad, audiologist and clinical cochlear implant specialist.

Cochlear implants have two components, including a titanium device that is implanted in the inner ear and an outer part placed either behind the ear or on the scalp. The two components are linked together using a magnet.

They bypass the normal hearing process and replace it with electric hearing. This means that the sound sensation comes from electrical signals that directly stimulate the auditory nerve. After surgery, children need speech therapy to hear, understand and speak.

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