Mumbai’s KEM Hospital’s ear implants help 300 kids in 10 years
Mumbai city news: The children, most of them below five years of age, had severe hearing loss since birth.mumbai Updated: Jun 16, 2017 00:42 IST
Three hundred children with hearing impairments can now hear clearly, thanks to doctors at KEM Hospital in Parel.
The children, most of them below five years of age, had severe hearing loss since birth. They got cochlear implants through donations from different organisations and people.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that functions like the inner ear. Each implant costs around Rs6 lakh. A part of the fund is available to children through the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Dr Hetal Marfatia, professor and head of KEM’s Ear Nose Throat (ENT) department, said that she had performed the first cochlear implant surgery in 2007. “It was difficult to raise funds as the implant is expensive but we found donors,” she said. “It changes the quality of life when a deaf child starts hearing after the surgery,” she added.
Doctors said that more than 50% of cases of childhood hearing loss were detected late, and stressed on the need for neonatal scanning for deafness mandatory in hospitals.
“At a time when tests can detect hearing loss even in a day-old child, cases of childhood hearing loss are detected after the child is more than four years old,” said Dr Sameer Bhargava, ENT surgeon at Dr RN Cooper Medical General Hospital, Vile Parle.
He added that a cochlear implant after the age of seven years may not help much in speech development. “After a certain age, pathways develop in the brain. An implant may only facilitate hearing but may not help a lot with speech development,” he said.
Parents tend to miss the initial signs of hearing loss, as they interact with children mostly through visual actions. “While the child appears to respond to what they are saying, he or she is actually responding only to the visual cues,” Dr Milind Kirtane told HT.