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Brett Lee in India on an awareness drive for hearing loss

  • Around 360 million people – 5% of the world’s population suffers disabling hearing loss – moderate, severe or profound
  • Almost 9% or 32 million of these are children under the age of 15 years
  • Up to 5 of every 1000 infants are born with or develop disabling hearing loss in early childhood
  • WHO estimates that about 60% of hearing loss in children under 15 years of age is preventable

Brett Lee, Cochlear’s Global Hearing Ambassador, is in Bangalore for the second innings of the ‘Sounds of Cricket’ campaign. This is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness about the significant functional, social, emotional and economic impact of hearing loss on individuals and their families. In October 2015, Brett Lee had unveiled the Indian leg of ‘Sounds of Cricket’ in Mumbai. hearing-loss

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hearing loss is the most widespread sensory deficit in humans globally today. Delay in the identification and treatment of congenital auditory impairment can profoundly affect quality of life in terms of language acquisition, social and emotional development and education and employment prospects.

Speaking on the occasion, Brett Lee said, “It is indeed an honour to be associated with this cause. Through the ‘Sounds of Cricket’ campaign, I am keen to spread the message about how Cochlear implants help individuals with hearing loss lead a normal life. Hearing loss is a huge global public health issue. Parents and family members should not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss and should take speedy action. I have personally witnessed how an implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life changing moment.”

Around 5 per cent of the world’s population suffers from disabling hearing loss. Despite these shocking numbers, most people are unaware of its implications and the treatment options available. Dr. Shankar Medikeri, senior ENT surgeon at Medikeri’s Super Speciality ENT Centre, said, “There is definitely an urgent need for universal new-born screening in India. Universal new-born 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 that can now restore one’s hearing ability and can totally transform the life of the hearing impaired person.”

Ms. Rashmi Deshpande, chief audiologist and speech language pathologist at Medikeri’s Super Speciality ENT Centre said, “Early identification and treatment of hearing loss is crucial to the development of normal speech among young children. It opens the door to integration of these children into mainstream society.”

To know more about this initiative, people can visit a dedicated website (soundsofcricket.com) where they can access online hearing loss checklists and information to find out if they, or their loved ones, might be experiencing hearing loss. If people wish to seek professional advice, they can use the website to find their nearest hearing health professional.

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