CHENNAI : Tamil Nadu is the world’s ‘deafness’ capital with every 6 out of 1,000 children born deaf compared to 1 in 1,000 across the world, mainly due to consanguineous marriages. Still as Tamil Nadu is the pioneer in cochlear implants, many children are benefitted and return to a normal life, said Dr Mohan Kameswaran, Director, Madras ENT Research Foundation.
This was possible as the State government brought cochlear implant surgeries under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. Many children, below the poverty line, received hi-tech implants and benefitted from the scheme, he said.Though many received the implants, majority of parents couldn’t bring their children for rehabilitation programme due to distance, travel, and accommodation expenses and also other issues. Attending the rehabilitation programme at least twice a week is a must to restore the speech in children, the doctor said.
To help such children, on Monday, The Madras ENT Research Foundation, along with Smiling Crocodile Charity, an organisation focussed on supporting hearing impaired, based in Czech Republic, announced the launch of international integration awareness campaign called ‘Because I hear-I Live’, that will support and encourage children who have undergone cochlear implantation for rehabilitation.
While stating that awareness is must for parents to know that diagnosing deafness before the age of two years or before, is important to restore speech or better outcomes, Dr Kameswaran said, “After three years it becomes challenging to restore the speech.”
“The age of children walking into the clinics, both, private and government, for the implant, has dropped from 4-6 years in 2012 to two years in the last two years. In fact, majority children coming through the State Health Insurance Scheme are below two years or so when compared to private clinics,” Dr Kameswaran added.