Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people
Have you heard the sound of falling rain? Or that of a baby gurgling away in glee? The sound of the doorbell that your partner rings incessantly at times? The whistle of the cooker that signals that your food is cooked? If you have you are lucky to do so as there are many people who have no idea what these sounds are like. Those people are hearing impaired, either by birth, unawareness, an accident or health issue or by sheer negligence.
On the 3rd of March, which was incidentally International World Hearing Day, Bangalore Bloggers gathered at Hotel ITC Windsor for a meet organized by Cochlear, the global market leader in medical devices that help people hear, to get to know all about hearing loss and spread awareness about how it can be controlled and prevented.
Human beings possess 5 Sense Organs
Out of the 5 sensory organs, hearing is the only one that can be replaced by technology.
At the first sign of discomfort we are particular about having our eyes tested or about visiting a Dermatologist for our skin problems. How many of us stress the same importance to our Ears and Hearing? Early screening and early intervention should be a must and not put off for later.
Hearing tests were conducted on the spot for the Bloggers attending and the children present too. A hearing test is a quick and painless procedure and having one done annually offers great relief and a head start towards cure if one is detected with a Hearing problem.
Hearing Loss Facts;
Hearing loss is defined as being partially or completely unable to hear sound in one or both ears.
The possible causes of hearing loss could be, Infections, Birth Defects, Aging Process, Head or Ear Injuries, Ototoxic reactions to Drugs or exposure to excessive noise.
360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss of which 91% are adults and 9% are children and together they make of 5 % of the world population.
Hearing loss affects all age groups and up to 5 out of every 1000 infants are born with or develop disabling hearing loss in early childhood.
Nearly 1 out of every 3 people over the age of 65 years are affected by hearing loss.
Over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
1.10 billion young people worldwide are at a risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
The maximum hearing loss cases are in India, with the states of Kerala and Karnataka having the most concentration.
50 % of hearing loss is preventable if hearing tests are done in time and through public health actions like;
Healthy ear and hearing care habits
Effective Treatments, for both acute and chronic ear conditions.
Australian Cricketer Brett Lee is the first Global Hearing Ambassador of Cochlear and they couldn’t have chosen better. Lee’s little son lost his hearing in his right ear for a few months due to a head injury and as a father Lee has seen and experienced the struggle losing one’s hearing can cause. Post his sons recovery Lee decided to spread awareness about the cause and joined hands with Cochlear to do so. Brett says he feel privileged to know that he can bring a change and a smile to so many faces. He is often present when a Cochlear Implant is switched on for the first time and shared that the reactions of people when they can first hear have often left him misty eyed. From silence to sound it is a wonderful life changing moment, says Lee.
Along with Cochlear, Brett Lee has started the Sounds of Cricket campaign to raise awareness of the significant medical, social and economic impacts hearing loss can have on individuals and their families.
We met 9 year old Komal who is just like any other child her age, she goes to school, swims, plays, loves Science and Maths is her least favourite subject.
The only difference is Komal can hear due to the newest invention by Cochlear called Kanso. An aid that is compact, looks nothing like a hearing aid and if covered by hair is almost impossible to see and even find. Komal was detected with a hearing loss in both ears at the age of 2 and at the age of 9 she has been wearing a hearing aid for the past 7 years and moved to Kanso recently. Komal’s mother, who was also present at the meet, thinks Kanso is boon, as it does not look like a usual and obvious hearing aid which draws attention. The quality of sound is also much better. Since it is a discreet hearing aid Komal does not feel conscious at all wearing it and is not singled out because of wearing an aid either.
Dr Shankar B Medikeri, ENT Doctor and President of the Cochlear Implant Group of India who was also present at the meet says there is an urgent need for universal newborn screening in India that can identify hearing loss in babies at birth.
After all prevention is always better than cure.
You can find out more about Cochlear on their handles below
Twitter Handle: @CochlearIndia
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CochlearIndia