COCHLEAR IMPLANT PROGRAMME

On an average, three to four in a 1000 children are born with total or significant hearing loss, affecting about 350 million people worldwide. Children born with hearing impairment cannot develop speech, which affects their education and overall development, ultimately leading to social isolation. Hearing loss also has an adverse effect on memory, learning ability and job performance. These children are sent to special schools for the deaf where they thrive in the shadows, embracing a distinct culture of silent communication. Hearing impairment in children, if treated before five years of age with Cochlear Implant surgery, enables them to hear like any other child.

WHAT IS A COCHLEAR IMPLANT ?

A Cochlear Implant (CI) is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids which make sounds louder, Cochlear Implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear or cochlea to provide sound signals to the brain. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin

“The Hans Foundation is implementing one of the largest Cochlear Implants Program run by any organization.”

THE COCHLEAR IMPLANT PROGRAMME

The Hans Foundation launched its Cochlear Implant program in Dec 2013. The aim of the program was to reach out to impoverished families so that these children can also have access to this expensive treatment and have an opportunity to join mainstream society. Each Cochlear Implant procedure (device, surgery and rehabilitation) costs about Rs. 6-7 lakhs per ear, a prohibitive cost for the poor and even the middle class in India. The CI program has evolved over the past few years and is strongly dependent on a team approach to clinical care. Children with profound hearing impairment especially those from economically deprived families are identified from across the country.

The Foundation has tied up with the country’s state-of-the-art hospitals to run this program. Children are operated upon by some of the leading Cochlear Implant surgeons at Apollo, Columbia Asia and Max City Hospitals. What started at a moderate scale of two to three operations per month, has now turned into a dynamic CI program run by the organization. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive program of cochlear implantation and allied health services by any single organization in the country.

Success of a CI implantation is based on multifaceted factors. Results of pediatric CI depend on factors including age at implantation, time elapsed since onset of hearing loss, causes and type of hearing impairment, neural plasticity, implant programming (hearing maps), actual implant use, family support, speech and educational rehabilitation. The Hans Foundation’s CI program is designed to provide a seamless range of services: from specialist assessment to surgical liaison, surgery and rehabilitation services. The implementation of the program is done by an onboard team of experts which includes Cochlear Implant surgeons, audiologists, speech and language therapists certified auditory-verbal therapists, counselors and managers. Thus, THF has designed this program with a 360 degree approach including feedback mechanism for regular reviews as well as constant course correction and improvement.

The Hans Foundation has done more than 600 Cochlear Implant Surgeries till date

Children treated under Hans Cochlear Implant Program are monitored very closely post-surgery by a qualified panel of doctors, audiologists, psychiatrists and THF staff. The endeavour of the foundation has been to mainstream these children in normal schools. Post-surgery therapy lasting upto two years, is the most essential component of the whole program. Members of the team, work closely together to assist children and their families as they participate in the implant evaluation and rehabilitation process. Every three months, the progress of these children is assessed. The experts work passionately, helping these children and their parents through an array of therapy sessions for enabling them to make the most of the technology and getting to grips with their bionic ears.
The Cochlear Implant program of THF works for who are waiting for an opportunity, a chance at experiencing life, like every other child.

The Cochlear Implant Programme of The Hans Foundation is a signature programme, a mission and a pledge to support under-privileged children and provide them with an opportunity to live a fuller and a healthier life

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