City doctors feel detecting deafness at an early age and opting for a cochlear implant will help children lead an independent life.
A child with hearing loss can be operated upon between the ages of one and two.
Samruddhi Dode, 10, who was born with profound hearing loss in both her ears, underwent cochlear implant surgeries when she was two years old.
“Samruddhi is completely independent. She can talk normally and even sings thanks to the wire in her ear,” said her mother, Preeti, who realised that Samruddhi was hearing-impaired when she didn’t respond to her lullabies as a child.
The occasion of International Day for Ear and Hearing falls on March 3.
“The results of cochlear implant surgery are astounding. It is sad that there are hearing-impaired people who are unwilling to opt for this surgery and who therefore have to spend their lives talking in sign language,” said Dr Milind Kirtane, consulting Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon, PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.
Stressing on early detection, Dr Kirtane said hearing loss can be detected at birth. “While it is compulsory to check for hearing loss in high-risk pregnancies, normal children are not screened,” he said.
If the child is detected with hearing loss, he or she has to be given a hearing aid as soon as possible before undergoing the surgery.
“The part of the brain which processes sound and connects to the speech area should get used, or else that part of the brain starts shrinking. This limits the development of speech and hearing,” said Dr Kirtane.