Journey of Silence to Sound – Cochlear implant – the only hope for deafness

The journey from silence to sound is a profound and life-changing one, particularly for individuals who are deaf or have severe hearing loss. This significance of hearing need not be over emphasised, the prevalence of hearing loss, its impact on children. Cochlear implants for children with hearing loss has revolutionised & brought ray of hope.

  1. Hearing as an Essential Sense: Hearing is a crucial sense that enables communication and connection with the world. It allows us to perceive and understand sound, which is integral to human interaction.
  2. Global Hearing Loss Statistics: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 466 million people worldwide experience hearing loss. In India alone, approximately 63 million individuals have significant hearing impairments, emphasizing the global scale of the issue.
  3. Hearing Loss in Children: Hearing loss affects children as well, with 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 experiencing this condition. Unfortunately, hearing impairment in infants often goes unnoticed till they attain the age of 2-3 years.
  4. Impact of Early Detection: Early detection of hearing loss is crucial, especially in infants and young children, as hearing plays a fundamental role in the development of spoken language skills. Tools like Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) and Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) can help identify hearing issues in newborns.
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  1. Causes of Childhood Hearing Loss: Childhood hearing loss can result from various factors, including genetic causes, family history, maternal illnesses during pregnancy, and postnatal factors like low birth weight and exposure to ototoxic drugs.
  2. Consanguineous Marriage and Hearing Loss: Consanguineous marriage, which is common in some parts of the world, including South-East Asia, can contribute to hearing loss. In India, this practice is widespread and often associated with hearing impairment in children.
  3. Preventable Causes of Hearing Loss: While many risk factors contribute to hearing loss in infants, it is estimated that 60% of cases are due to preventable causes, such as maternal illnesses, immunization, and addressing anaemia.
  4. Screening and Diagnosis: Audiological tests like OAE and BERA are essential for early detection of hearing loss, and OAE has become a mandatory screening test for newborns in certain Indian states.
  5. Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implants: Depending on the severity of hearing loss, children may benefit from hearing aids or cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are electronic devices that bypass damaged parts of the ear and stimulate the auditory nerve, allowing recipients to perceive sound.
  6. The Importance of Rehabilitation: Following cochlear implantation, individuals typically undergo auditory-verbal therapy to adapt to and interpret the new sounds they hear. Over time, their ability to understand speech improves.
  7. Government Initiatives: The government of Karnataka, in collaboration with the National Program for Prevention and Control of Deafness, offers free cochlear implant surgeries to children under six years old. KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital is the only hospital in North Karnataka which offers free Cochlear implant surgery to deserving patients of less than 6 years of age.
  8. Deafness Detection Camp: KLE Hospital is organizing a free Deafness Detection Camp on 26th September 2023, to raise awareness about hearing loss and offer pre-registration for cochlear implant surgery for children under six years of age. For appointments call 0831-2473777 EXT NO 1841, 1358,

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