BENGALURU: A Bengaluru woman Savithri overcame a hearing defect at the age of 62 after a successful cochlear implant surgery. Her husband, Krishna Chetty, says it’s a new experience for him. “I’d only be able to say if it’s a good or a bad experience after a while,” says Krishna, laughing.
Krishna, who works at a marketing agency in Peenya, talks about life before the surgery. Since Savithri was unable to hear knocking or the doorbell, he would throw coins inside the verandah. When the coins would hit her, she would know that her husband was home. “After a long day at work, when I would come home, I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to or take out my frustration. I would sometimes get angry at her. When I would ask her to get me something, she would sometimes interpret it wrong through lip reading. When I would ask her for a towel, she would bring me pants,” he says.
Savithri is now undergoing therapy as she is unable to recognise sounds or distinguish between a man’s voice and a woman’s. “Therapy is essential. After the surgery, she wasn’t able to recognise any sounds as she lived 40 years in silence,” he adds. She is now using her implant on the right side and exploring new sounds every day.
Born healthy, Savithri suffered from progressive hearing loss when she was about 20 years old, following a bilateral ear surgery for chronic discharge from her ears, which pushed her into a world of silence. Initially, she used hearing aids for sound awareness, but as time passed, the hearing aids stopped benefiting her.
When their son moved to the UK for work, he learnt about cochlear implant surgery, which helps the profoundly deaf. “He researched and contacted Dr Sheelu Srinivas of Columbia Asia Hospital, Sarjapur Road,” Krishna says.
About three years ago, Savithri was evaluated by performing various audiological and radiological tests and the doctors suggested that since hearing aids were not working for her, she was a good candidate for a cochlear implant. The surgery was performed two months ago. “The surgery was expensive - cost us around Rs 14 lakh. My son and daughter-in-law somehow managed to raise the money. But we now spend on cabs to go for therapy sessions, which is about 25 km away from home. The doctors say that she’ll take about six months to completely recover,” he adds.