Baroda resident Dr Chandraprakash Purohit is confident that his son Aryan, 12, who was born with a deformity of the ear, will soon clearly hear his parents calling him.
The birth defect led to Aryan suffering a considerable hearing loss. On May 27, doctors at KEM Hospital did a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) surgery to correct the deformity and reinstate normal hearing. “Because of his birth defect, the patient’s right side pinna (outer ear) was very small and underdeveloped, while the left side only had a small ear lobule. His hearing was only about 50%,” said Dr Hetal Marfatia-Patel, associate professor, ear nose and throat department, KEM Hospital.
Aryan’s right side external auditory canal was absent while the left one was only partly developed. However, his inner ears were fully developed, said doctors. In the surgery, doctors surgically placed a titanium implant in the skull bone behind Aryan’s right ear. “This is the first time that we have performed BAHA surgery at KEM Hospital,” said Dr Marfatia-Patel.
Aryan’s parents took him to experts from Mumbai and Gujarat. “When he was born, we were worried whether he is deaf and dumb. But even as an infant he was able to hear very loud sounds,” said Dr Purohit, 39, who works as a cardiologist with a private hospital in Baroda.
Doctors suggested that Aryan use hearing aids but due to his underdeveloped external ears, it was not able to fit properly. “We wanted him to have normal hearing. As he grew older, he couldn’t interact with his schoolmates. This transformed him into a lonely child,” said Dhiraj, Aryan’s mother.
Last year, while on a trip to Udaipur in Rajasthan, the Purohit family happened to meet Dr Patel, where she told them about the BAHA procedure. BAHA surgery is effective in patients, who do not have external ears, suffer from continuous ear discharge or are deaf in one ear and cannot wear conventional hearing aids, said doctors.
“This system offers significantly better sound quality as the sound is transferred directly to the cochlea and inner ear through the skull bone, without having to first travel through the skin, which reduces clarity and volume,” said Dr Gauri Mankekar, consultant ear nose and throat surgeon, PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.
Aryan will be able to hear clearly in the next six months as the implant gets integrated with his skull bone. “Then he will be able to use the processor,” said Dr Marfatia-Patel.