Cochlear implant surgery can treat sensorineural hearing loss

Dr. Sumit Mrig, Associate Director and Head ENT, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

Dr Sumit

Cochlear implant surgery is done in India for the treatment of severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in children as well as an adult when hearing aids fail to provide benefits. In India for every 1000 births 3 to 4 children are born deaf & many more become deaf in the first 2 to 4 years of their life because of childhood infections. nowadays with the universal newborn hearing screening program hearing can be tested on day one of birth with the help of a simple screening test called OAE -oto acoustic Emissions, through this test you can come to know that a child will hear or not & if the test is referred then a repeat test is done after ENT consult and with further refer an advanced test called BERA( brain stem evoked response audiometry) is done and if a child is found to be suffering from severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss where hearing aids do not give any benefit and after few radiological tests like CT scan and MRI of the ear are done to see if the cochlea ( the main organ of hearing ) and the auditory/ cochlear nerve of hearing is present, then the child can undergo cochlear implant surgery . what’s most important is early the age of implantation the better the result in terms of speech & language acquisition for the child. starting early and starting right as the maximum brain development takes place within the first 2 years of age a child & is called a s brain plasticity. A child who undergoes an implant as early as 9 months up till 18 months of age can develop normal speech and language can go to a normal school & can get formal

School education is like any other child. Currently, in India, the average age of cochlear implants is about 4 to 5 years and because of this delay in implantation most of the children are not able to attend formal school education. with the latest criteria of WHO of the rule of 1,3& 6 months is detection at 1 month, complete diagnosis at 3 months, and intervention at 6 months with hearing aid trial and therapy and undergoing a bilateral cochlear implant surgery as early as 9 months of age will enable these children to not only get back their hearing but also have normal speech and language acquisition like any other normal child in the society.

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