Saturday, September 28, 2019

Pune offer early detection hearing tests at birth


PUNE: The early identification and early intervention is the only answer for hearing loss problem. Hearing assessment can be done even on a one day old baby. Universal hearing screening is the only answer to the way forward. Many hospitals in Pune have started offering this option of an early identification test on new born babies and this has proven to be very helpful in many cases, said Dr. Kalyani Mandke, Implanting Surgeon.

While elaborating the current situation of hearing loss treatment facilities, she said, “Nearly forty to fifty thousand babies are born every year with hearing loss in our country. One of the major causes of hearing loss is a genetic factor. Hearing loss is not a disease but it is a condition, it adversely affects on speech and language development of a child.”

The Disability Census 2011 indicates that there are 26 million individuals with disabilities in the country. The total number of Deaf and hard of hearing people is around 50 lakhs. Hearing loss is the second most common disability in the country, comprising of 18.9% of the disabled population. The prevalence of a congenital hearing loss is 5.6 per 1000 live births, which is a significantly high number, while advanced countries have prevalence rate  around 1 to 3 per 1000 live births.

Once hearing loss is identified further management is equally important. Children can be fitted with hearing aids. Hearing aids do not help all the children hence Cochlear implant is a better alternative solution which is available in our city. It is a surgical intervention. This surgery is safe but a delicate surgery, it can be done on as young as one-year old baby. This technology is available in Pune city.

Dr. Kalyani Mandke further added that hearing loss has an impact on self, family and society. Children with hearing loss have a higher rate of not being enrolled in schools or lagging in academics or having dropped out of the schools after few years of schooling. There is a higher rate of unemployment amongst deaf and hard of hearing people, which certainly affects them financially and socially. If the sensory deficits in babies remain undetected or untreated, they will lead to a significant handicap, ultimately affecting the quality of life. 

Although this surgical intervention is an expensive procedure,  there are Government schemes like ADIP – Central Government Scheme, Prime minister  relief funds, Chief minister relief funds  as well as there are philanthropic organizations which support for Cochlear implant sur

Vedant and Shravani Mahajan and Dhanada Vyawhare received Cochlear implants in their early years when they were almost 13 months. Their parents were forward thinking and although they come from very humble backgrounds they were aware of the technological advancements that science had to offer.  They approached Dr. Mandke who helped them connect with the funding agencies and got them 100% funding. 

Shravani is 14 years old today and underwent the surgery at 13 months of age.  She studies in Class 8 at Aksharnandan Marathi medium school. She has excellent speech and language outcomes. She is a good dancer and presently perusing her formal Kathak dance training from Roopak dance academy She is a foodie and missal pav is her favourite dish.

Dhanada is 9 years old and has excellent speech and language outcomes.  She was operated at age of 15 months and speaks Marathi, English and Hindi.  She loves to dance and has performed many a time at school and social gatherings.  She is fond of drawing, painting and craft.  Both her parents Neha and Nikhil have hearing loss.  Though Neha herself is deaf, but wanted her child to be get opportunities as normal child.

20 year old Vedant is presently helping his father in his business.  Vedant was operated at 9 years of age and yet has better speech and language outcomes. He is badminton player and is excellent in making miniature paintings.

All the children are studying in regular schools and leading a normal life and they have been mainstreamed very successfully, which shows how early intervention can make a hearing condition a thing of the past and help lead a normal life with a successful future!

Surgery is the first step for their rehabilitation which is followed by effective speech and language training is the key for their success. Language is a learnt behavior. Their family members and teachers have worked hard to bring sunshine in the lives of these three individuals.


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