Mangaluru, July 12, 2015: Pilot scheme to provide cochlear implants to children with hearing loss of above 80% in place in Dakshina Kannada district has proved successful. Of the 13 children shortlisted under the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment for the Disabled Persons Scheme, implants were provided to 10 children aged below 5 years. While the parents of two children backed out, experts did not go ahead with the implant with the third for medical reasons.
Dr J M Hans and Dr Vasanthi Anand carried out the minimally invasive cochlear implant technique at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH), Bengaluru, from March 23. The children were selected at a special screening camp held at Natekal primary health centre in November last. Akshaya Pruthvi, auditory habilitationist, and Rexy Susan Varkay, audiologist, carried out the therapy at Regional Advanced Pediatric Care Centre (RAPCC) .
Dr Hans, an authority on cochlear implants, said that it was Minister U T Khader’s drive that saw private medical institutions in the district carry out the free tests on children.They were subsequently taken to IGICH, Bengaluru, for operation and discharged the next day and a four days observation maintained. They are now attending speech theraphy.
Dr Hans, who is also the executive member of the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing of which Khader is the ex-officio vice-president, said that an operation theatre at the institute was being set up, so that such cochlear implant operations can be carried out there as well.
Dr Vasanthi said while confirmatory tests can be carrie d out on a day-old child, one has to wait until the child is eight months before the cochlear implant procedure can be carried out. The key to success is early diagnosis, coupled with dedication on part of parents to bring their child for post-operative therapy and follow up, she said . The surgery, implant and one-year post-operative therapy is done free of cost.