BANGALORE: “Trusting my gut instinct and faith in God is what saved my son,” proudly declares Radha Raju, a yoga instructor and a corporate trainer. Her son Arvind is 38-years-old today and a successful software engineer, leading a normal life. But, things weren’t easy right from the beginning.
Radha discovered that her son had a hearing impairment when he didn’t respond to the sound of crackers during Diwali. Later, her heart skipped a beat when she read an article on ‘Cogenital problems caused by illness during pregnancy’ where German Measles was mentioned. She remembered contracting measles during her first trimester of pregnancy. When Radha got worried and asked the pediatrician for a hearing test, he said, “You are worrying unnecessarily.”
When her son was just 20- months-old, Radha took him to a leading ENT specialist who said, “Put your son to a deaf and dumb school. He can’t respond normally to sound.” Radha’s family was devastated. But, a newspaper article about speech and hearing assessment at the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing at Mysore, changed it all. “We consulted Dr Rathna, who assured that my child would be able to speak and directed us to the Speech Therapy Department in Chennai. Dr. Rathna told us that residual hearing could be corrected with a hearing aid. He suggested Balavidyalaya in Chennai for schooling,” adds Radha. Her son was able to speak normally within a year.
But, last year he suddenly lost hearing in one ear. A cochlear implant was suggested after which he attended a rehabilitation programme at an NGO. He met people there with problems similar to his and are struggling due to lack of awareness. His mother was shocked.
That is how Loud-Speakers, People’s forum for the Hearing Challenged, was born. Today, it caters to the unique needs of the hearing challenged, especially children and the youth. They are planning to start a helpline to provide information and support to parents of the hearing-impaired children.