At 25, Debashree, an architect by profession, lost hearing due to TB. She used to sit in front of the TV watching Cricket but not able to hear the cheering and entire sporting euphoria. Life became totally silent for her. The hearing loss was permanent. That meant she would have to learn sign language, and decipher what others are speaking by lip movements which made it difficult for her to take and answer phone calls, react to others in general and she didn’t know how to deal with such a huge blow. It had a profound impact on her personal and professional life for nearly 2 years.
That is when she says “Miracle happened”
She came to know about Cochlear™ Implants when she was hopeful to be able to hear again. After the implant treatment, Debashree could hear, participate in conversations, enjoy the #SoundsOfCricket and cheer for the team.
“Cochlear™ brought me back to life” says Debashree
360 million people in the world are suffering from hearing disability out of which 32 million are children under 15 years of age. Cochlear™ Implants are being done in India successfully for over 15 years across centers throughout the country.
Brett Lee, one of the best cricketers and who is the Global Hearing Ambassador, was in India to promote the importance of hearing and its treatment amongst the masses, spread awareness so that more people are benefitted by the treatment. It’s a common and invisible disability.
Importance of Hearing:
Sound is the most important of the five senses for a child’s development. He hears his parents speak and imitates them. The world is filled with sounds, be it playing Cricket in the backyard or going for trips in the outdoors. From the morning alarm which wakes up, to the teacher teaching the subjects in school, the recess bell, sounds alerting us while crossing roads, TV giving us updates from the entire world, it’s hard to just imagine no sound at all.
Kids are curious about the world at large. The outdoors are instrumental in shaping the personality of a child. Going on nature walks makes them aware of the sounds of gushing rivers, gentle breeze in the wilderness, the flow of waterfall and mimic the distant calls of birds throughout forests which helps their aesthetic development and enhances their cognitive and social/ emotional responses. Adventure and physical activities develop their motor skills and physical fitness, be it simple mountain biking, rock climbing or rafting and paragliding. These activities help them learn a lot about the world and express themselves. A child would definitely miss out on the whole outdoor recreation and all the adventures that make him strong, independent and imbibe the necessary life-skills that he can learn by just being in nature.
Brett says, “My child was detected of hearing impairment and I chose Cochlear™ implant because it was trustworthy. I would strongly recommend all parents to have their new-borns tested for hearing loss at birth itself. It hardly takes 15 seconds. Avoiding it is risking your child’s future in case he is detected at a later stage when treating him might become difficult.”
Hearing loss may be at birth, genetically, due to some infection or injuries and also resultant of loud music, noises of traffic, constructions and the prevalent noise pollution everywhere. Simple cure is to use the hearing aid which is a removable hearing device and is fitted behind the ear. It amplifies the sound into the ear. But what if the patient doesn’t regain hearing sense even after putting this aid on?
That is when Cochlear Implants are resorted to, worldwide and for all ages. What Cochlear Implant does is to stimulate electrical signals to the auditory nerve by working as the Cochlea, thus bypassing the damaged parts of the inner ear, thus allows the person to hear.
Many of the kids with significant hearing loss at any age tend to become socially isolated. Even the best hearing machine they use can fail to aid them with the impairment. They start missing out on spontaneous and fast paced conversations, cannot go to movies which don’t have subtitles, cannot use phone. Their communication in general is hampered impacting their psychological well-being. Cochlear™ Implant is the best solution in these cases. It has been helping its recipients to come into mainstream and progress in their profession.
Brett says, “Cochlear™ Implants are done on a large scale in Australia. Most of the doctors doing surgery in Australia are Indians so I am happy to come to India and spread awareness.”
Dr. Neelam Vaid, MS (ENT) runs ‘Big Ears’ Center at KEM Hospital, Pune which focuses on early detection and intervention of the hearing impaired has led multiple research projects on hearing loss and cochlear implants. She says “The surgery takes around 90 minutes with anaesthesia. After follow-ups and post-surgery care, the patient’s hearing sense is restored in 3-6 months on an average. The major hurdle is not the surgery but to get people to test themselves and their family for hearing loss in general.”
Most of the parents look down at testing their kids for hearing at early age. They will readily do test for eyesight but not the hearing one. Visible symptoms of hearing loss are often ignored leading to further decline of this sense. This adversely affects the mental and physical performance making it difficult for such patients to adjust in school or workplace and avoiding peers. In Indian scenario particularly, admissions to schools and colleges or jobs are not offered considering disabilities and it is made an issue too. Cochlear Implants are hence a great way to integrate such individuals into the society.
Brett says, “Most of the people with hearing loss remain unidentified and hence they don’t receive Cochlear Implants. By creating awareness, they can come at clinics where doctors can suggest them the necessary course of action and treatments. There is a social stigma attached to hearing impairment. Once we change the mindset, leading a normal life will be easier for these people.”
The cost of surgery is no doubt high but it gives patients a rebirth and hence it’s worth it. Also there are so many NGOs and government funded hospitals which can help the patients gain funding. Recently Cochlear Implants were done free of cost at Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam and many more hospitals throughout India.
Clinics known for Cochlear Implant surgeries are located across the country. Here, a team of medical professionals works with patients from pre-surgery to post-surgery and after that also. The team typically includes an audiologist, an otologist (ear doctor), surgeon, psychologist, counselor and speech-language pathologist.
This team enables patients to choose the right course of treatment, how to go about it and talks to patients and their families to counsel them.
So if you know anyone who is hearing impaired, do not hesitate to tell them about Cochlear™ Implants. It can be their life-changing moment and a journey from silence to sound.
Cochlear™ is transforming the way people understand and treat hearing loss. They have made hearing possible for over 400,000 people across 100 countries of all ages in over 3 decades. Cochlear™ has been training medical professionals from India since 1998. Since 30 years they have been developing technologically advanced solutions to offer superior hearing performance.
Over 30 years ago, the world’s first multi-channel Cochlear™ Implant was invented which has evolved into the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 6 today.
This makes it possible to hear clearly in noise and where background sound is equally amplified if you use hearing aids. The best thing is that it scans your surroundings and automatically adapts to the listening environment as rest of your senses do. Some of the features include
- world’s smallest sound processor
- True Wireless™ technology
- water resistance
- battery options
And many more.
The products have been designed with the patient’s safety and comfort in mind. Baha®, a bone conduction system is also helping more people with conducting or unilateral hearing loss.