Three-and-a-half-year-old Aditya (name changed on request) heard for the first time after getting a cochlear implant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) two weeks ago.
The Australian-made device, Nucleus 5, provides clear hearing by processing information in milliseconds and filtering out background noise.
Patients needing an implant will now benefit from this device — costing Rs 9.94 lakh — provided free at AIIMS for government employees.
“It is thinner and tougher than previous models of cochlear implants. The response time is faster and a person can hear clearly at busy places such as markets, railway station etc,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar, associate professor, ENT, who led the team of surgeons along with Dr Kapil Sikka.
The implant design enables Aditya to distinguish between frequencies, such as a telephone ring, and music. “In earlier devices, distinguishing various frequencies was a little difficult. A person would not be able to tell from the noise whether it was a telephone or music system clearly,” said Dr Kumar.
The system is water resistant with an extremely user-friendly remote controlled processor.
“The light and small design means it is not inconvenient for people, especially children who have thin skin and bones. Earlier, the skin would also get eroded due to its weight,” said Dr Kumar.
Once his wound is fully healed in another two weeks, Aditya’s implant will be switched on, but he will need speech therapy for another three to five years before he can finally speak clearly.