India’s premier dedicated facility to provide hearing and speech solutions, SpHear Speech & Hearing Clinic today conducted a special health camp to screen children with hearing impairment and offer solutions such as cochlear implants, hearing aids and other necessary devices at subsidized rates.
Statistics suggest that up to 8 per 1000 children in India are born with hearing impairment ranging from mild to profound. Unfortunately, awareness about early detection and medical intervention is so low in India that almost half of them do not get medical help either due to lack of awareness about possible solutions or financial vulnerability.
Hearing impairment can prevent the normal cognitive development of children if not detected and treated early. It is recognized that children identified with hearing loss prior to 6 months of age have better chance of developing skills equivalent to their peers. “Awareness about the need for early detection and intervention is so low in India, especially in smaller towns like Muzzaffarpur that many children fail to get medical attention for a long time and continue to grow without hearing ability even when highly advanced medical solutions exist to help them. Some others lack financial wherewithal. As part of this project, we are examining patients with hearing problems and offering subsidized cochlear implants for children of financially weak families. Up to 90% of the surgical costs will be subsidized for children who cannot afford the surgery. With medical help and rehabilitation support, children with hearing impairment can successfully assimilate in the mainstream and do well in life,” says Neevita Narayan, Audiologist & Founder, SpHear (Speech & Hearing) Clinic.
“Today, with the availability of revolutionary technology it is possible to offer children a hearing solution tailored to their needs. Hearings aids, cochlear implants and auditory brain stem devices can enable children lead normal lives. Children suffering from a profound hearing loss can be immensely helped through cochlear implants. Even some cases of complete absence of hearing can be successfully treated today by auditory stem implant technology. Unfortunately in India the solutions do not reach all children and many continue to live without help for several years having curtailed cognitive development,” says Dr Ameet Kishore, Senior Consultant Surgeon, ENT at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi & Consultant Surgeon at SpHear Speech and Hearing Clinic.
At the camp, experts conducted hearing testing and provided free of cost consultation to patients. The doctors and audiologists examined children and assessed the kind and degree of hearing loss in them and guided their families about the right recourse and mode of treatment. This camp initiates a process in which proper counseling is provided to patients requiring Cochlear Implants. The initiative known as ‘Project Ghanti’ takes patients’ families and doctors into confidence before conducting treatments.