Meet Sharanya Manoharan, a seventeen year old who loves reading, music and dance. She has completed Grade II exam from London Music School for playing keyboard and has won ‘previously gem of the school’ personality award twice. Sharanya was born hearing impaired and is a cochlear implant receipient since the age of three years.
Four in every 1000 children born in India are born with severe to profound hearing loss.
Over a hundred thousand babies are born with profound hearing loss every year in India.
Hearing loss is an enfeebling disability that affects over 24 million children in our country.
BUT HOW MANY ARE ABLE TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS LIKE SHARANYA?
Having stated these facts – the good news is that hearing is the only sense that can be restored (closest to organic) by technology.
Early detection of hearing loss
Typically, an unborn child starts hearing her mother’s voice inside the womb as early as the 6th month of pregnancy. Hence hearing in babies can be checked even if the baby is a day old. Hearing loss in babies must be detected and treated at the earliest possible to let the child leverage its development years. It’s a must to ensure that your child starts hearing and responding to sounds at a normal age for a steady progressive growth.
Why the earlier the better?
– A child learns to speak only through what he hears. By three months of age a child is able to make vowel sounds like ohh, aaa, ee. By the time he turns two, he also begins to speak. But imagine if your child can’t hear anything, how would he speak? Hence, the first impact of hearing loss is, it affects a child’s ability to learn a spoken language.
– In the first five years of a child’s life, his brain develops faster than any other time of his life. As he grows the neural plasticity of the brain diminishes. If deafness is not detected and treated early, the child is not only ignorant to spoken languages but also realizes that his communication skills are much different than most people. This later leads to isolation and other psychological problems.
With the help of CochlearTM implants, children born with no hearing or with a profound hearing loss can regain their sense of hearing, avail mainstream education and lead a normal life.
What is a CochlearTM implant?
A CochlearTM implant is an electronic medical device that mimcs the function of the human ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, CochlearTM implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.
Watch this video to learn how an implant works
CochlearTM implants are a solution that allow a child to discover the magical world of sounds just like it is meant to be. It is a ray of light for children with hearing loss and their parents.
Time and again it is proved that children who received a CochlearTM implant before the age of two are able to speak, have clear speech, attend mainstream schools, express themselves better and are able to lead a life just like other children.
On the morning of 14th May 2017, I attended an event that was organized by Cochlear India to educate the parents and children about the procedure, safety, technology and the need of CochlearTM implants. #CochlearCelebration was also a reunion event that bought together many CochlearTM implant recipients to share their joys, challenges and triumphs.
At this event I met several CochlearTM implant recipients who are doing tremendously well in various walks of life. The soul reason for that is because their family detected hearing loss and intervened at the right time.
Jehan is a charming 20 year old who got his first CochlearTM implant at the tender age of 5 and a half years.
He represented India at the APAC Badminton Championship 2014, Deaf Olympics held in Bulgaria in 2013, and World Deaf Badminton Championship 2011. He has also won medals at National Games for the Deaf in the year 2013 and 2014. He won the bronze medal at World Deaf Youth Badminton Championship 2015.
Divyesh is a child artist like no other but a school boy like every other. He got implanted with a CochlearTM implant when he was little over one and a half years old. He has showcased his acting skills in several Marathi serials, movies and television commercials. His energy and confidence kept me smiling as I watched him perform live on stage.
Bhagyashree received her CochlearTM implants at the age of two and a half years. At the age of ten she speaks Hindi, English, Marathi and Sanskrit fluently. She recited poems in the four languages with confidence and grace at the Cochlear Celebration event.
These are a few of the thousands of success stories that Cochlear is associated with. There are many more that have been able to lead a content life because their parents made a choice to intervene early for their hearing loss.
Remember, movies can have subtitles, life cannot!