Can Hearing Disability in Children be Overcome?

February 15, 2016
Cochlear Implant Surgery

“Yes, with timely guidance and the right support,” says Mr Lakshman, father of two young hearing challenged boys.

Dr Sheelu Srinivas – ENT Surgeon & Cochlear Implant Specialist at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Koramangala says, “Hearing loss may not be a life-threatening condition but it surely affects the normal growth process in a child; hence compromised quality of life when they grow. Only those who went through life with this condition, and the doctors treating them, can best explain the experience”

The hearing is critical for speech and language development. Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit and around 6.3% of our population suffers from disabling hearing loss.  About 9% of these are children. Universal newborn hearing screening is still not mandatory in India and hence hearing-challenged children present late – says the doctor.

Commenting on the therapy Dr Sheelu Srinivas explains, “A hearing challenged child can be fitted with hearing aids as early as six months of age and therapy should be started. While hearing aid is an amplification technology, cochlear implants directly stimulate the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. A surgery is required to insert the internal component of the implant and the device is switched on in the couple of weeks post-surgery. The benefits and outcomes of cochlear implants depend on auditory language therapy and parents play a critical role in this journey of hearing to communication.”

Mr Lakshman further recalls, “When our child was 2-years old, we realized that he was not able to hear. We got some tests done to confirm deafness but like most parents, we initially thought as he grows he will speak. Things were not improving till 3-years of his age. Subsequently, we met Dr Sheelu Srinivas and our child was fitted with hearing aids on both ears. Speech-language therapy was also simultaneously started.”

“Since Mohit was not achieving language skills with hearing aid and rigorous therapy, the doctor has recommended for Cochlear Implant procedure. We were also told that to get complete benefit of this procedure, it should be done before the child turns 5 years or even earlier. Considering the cost involved, initially, we were a bit hesitant. But today, I can say for sure that it’s the best investment I have done for my child’s future. After implantation Mohit underwent auditory verbal therapy; he is fluent in Kannada and now learning English” says Mr Lakshman.

Know about the causes & treatment of hearing loss.

Encouraged by Mohit’s outcome, parents went ahead with Cochlear implantation for younger 3-year-old Gokul, at Apollo Spectra Hospitals three months ago with Dr Sheelu Srinivas.

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