COCHLEAR IMPLANT: For Those Who Can’t Hear

Cochlear implant is a medical device, which replaces the person’s cochlea (organ for hearing) with an artificial one, through an operation. The cost of the artificial cochlea is around 6 lakhs, and another 50,000 to 1 Lakh is needed for pre-operative investigations and post-operative rehabilitation. Any child with severe to profound cochlear hearing loss in both the ears is a candidate for cochlear implant.

JSS_Institute_Speech_Hearing_Dharwad

Considering the high cost of implant, Govt. of India started a cochlear implant program under its ADIP scheme, where the implant will be provided for the underprivileged children for free. The government will bear the cost of implant, operative charges including charges for stay in the hospital and post-operative speech, language and hearing therapy (also known as auditory verbal habilitation).

The patient has to pay the charges for pre-operative audiological and radiological investigation. However, there are certain conditions to be fulfilled to consider a candidate for cochlear implant under this scheme:

  • Child who is congenitally deaf (deaf by birth) within 5 years of age (as on 31st of the financial year), or a child who became deaf after developing some speech and language within 12 years of age (as on 31st of the financial year)
  • Having hearing loss of severe to profound degree (Sensorineural type) in both ears
  • Have used hearing aids for a minimum of 3 months along with regular therapy and not getting benefit from it
  • Not having any other associated developmental delay or Mental Retardation or cognitive deficit, etc.
  • Possessing recent hearing disability certificate indicating loss of more than 90% in the better ear, issued from government organization
  • The structures inside the ear (cochlea, auditory nerve, etc.) should be suitable for implantation

The families of children should have a total income not exceeding Rs. 15,000/- per month to avail a 100% subsidy. Subsidy excludes the charges for pre implant radiological and audiological evaluation.

Facilities at Namma Mysuru:

JSS Hospital, the pioneer medical service provider in Mysuru, in association with JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru, has taken up the initiative to start cochlear implant surgeries and has become the first hospital in Mysuru to conduct these surgeries under the ADIP scheme. Eligible candidates shall be implanted and quality therapy and post-surgical support shall be provided by the department of ENT at the JSS Hospital, and the JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru. The success story of one such candidate who is selected for the cochlear implant is as follows:

One evening, when I was about to close the department, a worried gentleman approached me with his 2 year old girl child. Being an audiologist, at the JSS hospital, I asked him to brief the problem and he narrated like this:

“I am Mr. Krishnappa (name changed) from KR Pet, and this is my daughter, Sandhya (name changed). Me and Sandhya’s mother married seven years ago and she is our second child. She was born normally in a nursing center near my home and had no birth complications. As any other, she grew with peers and siblings as a normal child. It was by her 8th month of age when we realized that she is not responding to our name calls. We first thought that she is busy playing and not paying attention. Later, one of our relative suggested to show it to a doctor. One of our known doctor recommended to go to Mysuru and get the hearing evaluation done. The hearing report from a renounced audiology center in Mysuru was a nightmare for us. My child can’t hear. It was like God has punished us for our previous life’s sins. For the next 4 months, we roamed from Mysuru to Bengaluru to Mumbai, from audiologists to ENT to Ayurveda to Godman. With no benefit from any measure, we lastly accepted our ill fate and agreed for fitting a hearing aid as suggested by all. My wife shifted to one of our relative’s home in Mysuru and Sandhya was enrolled for speech therapy, as speech therapy is important after hearing aid fitting for developing normal speech and language skills. She attended intensive sessions of speech and language therapy. Despite all possible efforts for nearly 6 months, we found no significant improvement in Sandhya’s auditory skills. We were losing hopes, the hope that Sandhya will speak and listen like normal child, one day. It was then that a relative of mine suggested that one operation can bring her hearing back and if she starts hearing, her speech and language skills will develop fast. We consulted our audiologist, where he told us that the facility is available, but the cost of the operation is more than 6 lakhs. The operation is known as cochlear implant and very few hospitals in Karnataka do such operations. This is the second time that I lost my hope. Being a small petty shop owner, with monthly income of around 10,000/-, it was increasingly difficult for me to bear the therapy expense and over that, arranging 6 lakhs is next to impossible. God has closed all the possible doors for our help. At one point of time, I felt that I should commit suicide with my daughter because I know the way the world treats a handicapped child, especially a girl. This is when I read a newspaper article that JSS Hospital started cochlear implant program under some government scheme and I came here as my last resort.”

I patiently listened to Mr. Krishnappa’s life story and went through the previous medical and audiological reports. Sandhya had severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. In simple words, her organ of hearing, known as cochlea was severely damaged. I gave appointment to Mr. Krishnappa for next day morning and we did some audiological and radiological investigation to confirm the status of cochlea. When I was sure of hearing impairment, I explained him regarding cochlear implant and ADIP (Assistance for disabled persons for purchase and fitting of aids and appliances) scheme of the Government of India. JSS is the first hospital in Mysuru to be registered under ADIP scheme, under which Sandhya may get cochlear implant, worth Rs. 6 lakh for free, including post implant rehabilitation at JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing, which may last up to 1 year. Sandhya was then enrolled for the cochlear implant program at JSS are we are awaiting for the surgery.

For Further Details about the Program and Eligibility, Please Contact:

  • Mr. Saransh Jain, Lecturer in Audiology, JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing, M.G.Road, Mysuru. Contact: 0821-2548229.
  • Mr. Vipin Ghosh, Lecturer in Audiology, JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing, M.G.Road, Mysuru. Contact: 0821-2548229.
  • Dr.Bharthi M.B., HOD, Department of ENT, JSS Hospital, M.G.Road, Mysuru. Contact: 0821-2335555