Five-year-old Shubham Kumar, who had been deaf since birth, will soon be able to hear his parents calling him.
He is the first beneficiary of the Comprehensive Cochlear Implant Programme started by the ENT department of the civic run hospital under the guidance of cochlear implant surgeon, Dr MV Kirtane.
Doctors at Nair Hospital have performed four cochlear implant surgeries in the last two years. This is the first time it has started a full-fledged programme that will take care of all the aspects concerning needy patients. This includes helping patients raise funds through charity organisations, pre-counselling, surgery and rehabilitation.
“I am very happy for my child. Doctors told us that my son was an ideal candidate for the surgery,” said Shubham’s father, Deepak Kumar, a mechanic in the naval dockyard.
The Kalyan resident spent Rs 5.5 lakh on the surgery. The cost for the implant at a private hospital ranges between Rs 7 and 12 lakh. “I have seen children who could have regained their hearing ability after a cochlear implant surgery. Poor parents shy away after hearing the cost of the implant,” said Dr Bachi Hathiram, head of the hospital’s ENT department. The hospital gets around 100 to 150 patients in its ENT out-patient-department every day.
Dr Hathiram said the hospital has the machinery for the comprehensive care of patients. The patients will be screened to decide whether they meet the criteria for the programme. Selected patients will first be given hearing aids. “Then, the funds will be sourced with help from the hospital’s social work department,” said Dr Vicky Khattar, assistant professor, department of ENT, Nair Hospital.
After the surgery, patients will undergo auditory verbal therapy, which is crucial to help them understand what they are hearing and how to interpret and respond to it. The hospital has an auditory and speech therapy school, the only one in all the civic hospitals and the oldest in Asia.