Lee lends an ear to Cochlear implant beneficiaries

File photo for representation only

Atharva Hegde, now two-years and seven-months-old, showed symptoms of hearing impairment when he was one year and seven-months-old. But, his father Vinay Hegde and his immediate family members were not ready to accept it. It took a few months for Amrutha Hegde, the mother, to convenience them to consult experts in ENT and speech and hearing.

Amrutha said finally Atharva underwent a cochlear implant and now he is able to hear and talk. “Initially we tried with hearing aids. But, later, we decided on cochlear implant, following the advise of experts. It is a team effort. Besides the services of the doctors and surgeons, speech therapists and parents help Atharva to understand languages and speak properly,” she said.

Umma Asma, 48, a teacher of Kalyangiri Government High School in the city, recalled how she lost hearing all of a sudden 10 years ago. “On a Monday, in February, 2008, I felt giddy and fell sick in the school. I was rushed to a doctor, who diagnosed me of low BP. I was on rest for a few days. On Friday, the same week, when I was at home, I suffered heavy sweating all of a sudden. There was heavy noise in my ears and suddenly the world became mute,” she said.

“I narrated my plight to my mother, who was taking care of me. I also called my husband over phone and told him about the problem. He returned home immediately and took me to doctors who referred me to All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH). In April 2008, I underwent cochlear implant. Initially, for nearly three months, all voices seemed like that of robots. Gradually, my hearing became normal. Now, my hearing is like what it was before,” she said.

She said, due to lack of awareness, many people suffer from hearing loss. “So, I tell my experience to people so that they can spread the awareness through word of mouth. Some people with similar problems, either call me or meet me. I give them necessary guidance,” she said.

Cricketer Brett Lee, Cochlear’s global hearing ambassador, who was in the city to give live commentary for a sports television channel for the KPL matches, interacted with the people who have undergone cochlear implants.

He said when his son Preston met with an accident in 2011, he suffered loss of hearing. “I was broken. However, he regained the ability to hear, following a few surgeries that included for correction of other parts on the face. But, I started worrying about the children, who either lose hearing or are born with hearing impairment. Besides, just imagine the sufferings of the parents raising such children,” he said.

“Then, I started studying about hearing impairment and their treatments. For partial impairment, there are an array of hearing aids. But, for complete impairment, only Cochlear had the solution of cochlear implant. I associated with them and now I am passionate and devoted to creating awareness about treating this condition. Among the senses, one cannot regain the ability to smell, touch or taste, if they are lost. But, only hearing and vision can be regained,” Lee said.

He visited AIISH and interacted with children and their parents there.

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Lee lends an ear to Cochlear implant beneficiaries

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