What if one day, you come to know your kid cannot hear? Your small brother, who might just be a 4-year-old, cannot listen to the cacophonies of nature? That cute niece of yours who cannot listen to what you speak?
Life without sound cannot be imagined.
Until I had attended Cochlear Bloggers meet, I used to think hearing loss is a disability as I had no idea about cochlear implants. The first meet was an awareness meet to spread the word about hearing loss in India. You can read about it here: With Cochlear™, Hear Now and Always
Some time back, I attended the second Cochlear™ meet in Bangalore, but this time it was an informational meet. This time the audience included people whose loved ones cannot hear, people who have gone through the cochlear implant, cochlear implant surgeons and bloggers.
Dr. Hans says,” Deafness is a silent Handicap. If a person is blind, you pity them but if someone is deaf, you ridicule them. With Cochlear Implantation, deafness is no more a disability”.
With the advancement in technology, hearing loss if detected early and taken proper actions on, can never be a disability. Early intervention can make a huge difference. Because about 90-100% of a child’s development is completed by five years of age, early access to hearing gives the child a far greater chance of realising their personal best speech and language skills. Also, studies have shown that children who receive a cochlear implant and appropriate rehabilitation at a young age (by the age of 18 months) have a greater potential to develop language skills equal or close to those of their same aged peers with normal hearing. The sooner the child can hear and use the spoken language, the more likely they’ll able to engage fully with the hearing world. The sooner you receive a cochlear implant, the sooner you can start hearing, interacting and enjoying your life to the full. To ensure that you can resolve hearing loss with early intervention, a Hearing test should be done as soon as possible. A baby’s hearing can be screened a few hours after birth. It is advised to have the screening done whilst the baby is still at the hospital.
Why Cochlear Implant?
Because hearing aids can’t work for everybody. Hearing aids simply make sounds louder, which doesn’t always make them clearer. In fact, understanding complex sounds like speech can actually be even more difficult. When people with severe-to-profound hearing loss don’t benefit from hearing aids, cochlear implant can prove to be a more effective long term solution. Cochlear implants don’t just amplify sounds. They mimic the natural hearing function of the inner ear through electronic stimulation. The system has two parts – an external sound processor and the actual cochlear implant fitted internally. Incoming sounds are processed into electrical signals and then transmitted directly to the hearing nerve, bypassing the damaged parts of the inner ear.
Bilateral Implants – Implants for both the ears.
If you have a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears, having a cochlear implant on both sides (bilateral) can give you a more natural hearing experience.
- Localisation of sound – Improved ability to identify the location of sound
- Increased Perception
Child’s Journey to A+ Hearing:
- Candidacy Evaluation – When the patient’s case is evaluated to decide if the implant will help him/her
- Surgery – The implantation procedure
- Switch On – When the processor is turned on, when the patient hears for the first time
- Habilitation – An important phase post-surgery so one can have the best outcome
You cannot expect the person to start hearing immediately after the cochlear implant surgery. A proper guidance along with family support is a must. Cochlear™ provides a wide range of information and activities designed to help recipients and the professionals they work with develop or re-learn listening and language skills.
It feels awesome to hear the birds chirping, the water splashing, the rain pattering, and to listen to your loved ones giggling and speaking. Let’s help others by spreading the word so we can give them the gift of sound!