PUDUCHERRY: For the first time in Puducherry, the Department of ENT at JIPMER has introduced Cochlear implant surgery, giving scope to children to gain hearing and speech, especially poor who cannot otherwise afford the expensive treatment.
The first Cochlear implant surgery has been done in JIPMER by Prof Sunil Saxena and his team under the mentorship of Prof Mohan Kameswaran on a two-year-and-two-month-old child. The expensive surgery has been performed free of cost, said Dr Saxena.
Cochlear implant surgery is done on a total deaf child, basically those born with this congenital defect. As auditory signals are necessary for child to develop speech, these children born deaf are mute also.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. This implant is fixed inside the inner ear through a surgery, which usually takes 2 hours and done under general anaesthesia, said Dr Saxena. After the implant is put into place sound is picked up by a microphone and sent through the device’s speech processor to the implant’s electrodes inside the cochlear and finally to the brain. After implant surgery, patients are able to hear and understand speech and speak after a rigorous speech therapy which is also provided in JIPMER. The best response is obtained at 2-5 years of age. The implant alone costs around Rs 6 lakh and the surgery and rehabilitation around Rs 10 to Rs 15 lakh, which is beyond reach for many poor.
The child, Sheik Mohammad from West Bengal, was brought to JIPMER from CMC Vellore as the father, a labourer, could not afford the costly treatment.