'TN is Deafness Capital'

Early intervention can help reduce hearing impairments

Published: 11th January 2014 08:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2014 08:37 AM   |  A+A-


Early detection and intervention is the need of the hour to combat deafness in the State, said Padmashri Dr Mohan Kameshwaran, managing director, Madras ENT Research Foundation, here on Wednesday. He was speaking on ‘Dare to Dream — towards a deafness free Tamil Nadu’ at the TR Pachamuthu oration on ENT at the SRM University.

According to a study with a sample size of 50,000 people, in Tamil Nadu, every six out of 1,000 children are born with profound deafness, which is thrice the national average and six times the international average for deafness — the latter being one in a 1,000. “This makes us the deafness capital of our country, which is mainly due to the practice of consanguineous marriage (marriage within kinship), which constitutes for 67 per cent of profound deafness,” he said.

The current age for medical intervention of deafness is three years. However, early intervention at the age of one will help, as the brain rewires itself with the absence of one sense after a short period of time. Intervention beyond this point would be futile, he pointed out.

Dr Kameshwaran said that early detection and intervention can help reduce the numbers in the State  and called for a universal neonatal hearing screening camp, as deafness is one of the curable illnesses if intervened early.

This is an initiative which the government can take up along with the private sector for the betterment of the community, he added.

His first tryst with deafness and the impact that a surgeon can make in the life of a hearing-impaired person, left him with a dream to reach out and make a difference.

“Advancing Technology has enabled Cochlear implants to be embedded in the brain stem. There is also technology which provides hearing to people without a cochlea to respond to electric acoustic stimulation to activate auditory senses,” he said.

The Chief Minister’s comprehensive medical insurance scheme is a life-saver for many poor families as it helps provide cochlear implants for free to children of Below Poverty Line families, he said.

SRM University founder  and Chancellor T R Pachamuthu, faculty and students of SRM Medical College and Department of Otorhinolaryngology were present.

An MoU was signed between SRM University and the Madras ENT Research Foundation,wherein villages in Kancheepuram district would be adopted for conducting screening camps.


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