The ENT department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) along with Cochlear’s Global Hearing Ambassador and International Cricket Icon Brett Lee got together to get discuss the significant functional, social, emotional and economic impact of hearing impairment on individuals and their families.
Speaking at the briefing Brett Lee said, “Today, hearing loss has become huge global public health issue. I wish to use this platform to say that everyone deserves to enjoy the sounds of everyday life. I want to help make sure, that anyone who is living in this world can experience the sounds of joy, to hear the voices of loved ones, family and friends. Parents and family members should not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss and should take speedy action. I have personally witnessed how a cochlear implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life changing moment. Many developed countries including Australia conduct hearing screening for every newborn. I would urge every parent to get their newborn screened for hearing at birth.”
Though many causes of hearing loss are preventable, global prevalence is on the rise. Around 360 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss. As per the 2011 census, India has more than 50 lakh citizens who suffer from some form of hearing loss. Around 5 per cent of the world’s population is disabled by hearing loss. Despite these shocking numbers, most people are unaware of the advanced treatment options available.
Prof. S C Sharma, Head of Department, ENT, AIIMS, said, “Hearing impairment is the second most common cause of disability after locomotor disability. Around 27,000 plus children are born with hearing loss in India every year. This significantly hampers the child’s education, career and entire life. Hearing is often neglected since it cannot be easily recognizable to parents during infancy. It is important to educate the masses that hearing loss can be combated through early identification and appropriate intervention. We also need to sensitize expectant parents, families and physicians to screen every newborn for hearing.”