Lend an ear… To those who can’t hear! #CochlearCelebration

June 14, 2017 Shubhreet

Mother’s Day! My plan was to wake up late that Sunday, have Karan manage Karma’s breakfast, diaper changes etc till afternoon, eat some yummy lunch and just chill. If you’re a mom and reading this, you’ll agree it sounds awesome. 😉 But life had other plans. I got invited to an event – #CochlearCelebration and it started at 9:30 AM on a Sunday. I did not know much about the event other than the fact it’s to do with hearing loss and viable solutions. I had promised to attend, so I got up, got dressed and was out the door while my monkeys were still asleep.

I was in for a surprise! It wasn’t just any other event… It was indeed a celebration of how technology can completely turn around someone’s life and their capability to achieve their goals. The hall was totally packed. It was inspiring, heart-breaking, motivating and informative all at the same time. Because I had not faced this issue myself nor did I know anyone who suffered from hearing loss, I never fully gauged its depth. And now, I don’t think there was a better way to spend Mother’s Day than watching these amazing kids who were Cochlear Implantees, their proud parents and their journey from silence to sound!

If you have the time to only read one part of this post, jump straight to The Recipients and take a quick look at the young participants who suffered from hearing loss and are now conquering the world! If you know anyone who suffers from hearing loss, please share this article with them. It’s not just inspiring, it’s helpful too.

What is Cochlear Celebration?

It’s an event held by Cochlear India to create awareness and to celebrate and share inspirational stories of cochlear implant recipients and their journey from silence to sound. The focus is towards increasing awareness around cochlear implants and why they are the ultimate solution to hearing loss. It includes informative and educational sessions by experts on the latest hearing technology as well as performances by recipients. I will discuss that in detail below but let me first give you the basics on cochlear implants.

What are cochlear implants?

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain. – Source: Cochlear.

The above image is that of a cochlear implant. It’s a tried and tested, well-established and most importantly, an effective long-term hearing solution for people with severe to profound hearing loss. To be honest, I had no idea something like this existed. In fact, it was my first introduction to Cochlear and the revolutionary work that they do in this field. Yes, maybe it was very ignorant of me but I intend to make up for it now. This is relevant information that can change lives and needs to shared.

A cochlear implant can be implanted in a baby who is as old as 12 months. The earlier it’s done, the better are the results. Young kids need less speech therapy and have faster understanding of sound. They also have no lag in their development and higher capabilities… the benefits are endless.

What you need to know?

The informative sessions were led by Dr. Milind Kirtane who has over 21 years of experience in cochlear implant surgeries and has performed over 2500 of them. He was also awarded Padma Shri in 2014. Here are some of the facts he stressed upon the most –

  • Hearing loss is defined as being partially or completely unable to hear sound in one or both ears. According to WHO, over 32 million children live with disabling hear loss worldwide.
  • Early intervention is the key – Over 60% of India’s hearing impaired cases could have been solved if early action had been taken. (Read below for stories of children who were implanted as babies or toddlers and are now leading fully-abled lives).
  • Cochlear implants are a more effective and long-term hearing solution than hearing aids. Better results in sentence understanding, formation and speech delivery compared to those using hearing aids.
  • Importance of bilateral implants – In case of hearing loss in both ears get two implants done, one for each ear. People who hear from both ears can intuitively tell where sounds are coming from. It’s also how the brain separates the sounds you want from ones you don’t.
  • It aids everyday tasks like paying attention in class, speech and language delivery, sports or just having a conversation.

The Recipients 

These kids were the highlight of the event. I was beyond amazed by them. They danced, they acted… There were performances, multi lingual recitals… They even played cricket on stage! Different kids, different ages, one commonality – They were all implanted as babies or toddlers. That is the importance of early intervention. From Bharatnatyam to reciting in different languages; from cricket commentary to being a top notch badminton player… Getting their hearing implants at an early stage has equipped them with everything they need to conquer life. Even performing up on that stage in a hall packed with people takes immense confidence and they did it with ease and finesse.

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Learn More

Here are videos regarding Cochlear India and their revolutionary products. You can also hear directly from their recipients and how getting cochlear implants has impacted their life.

I do hope you will go through the videos and spread the word. If you are a parent or know any new parents, I request to you to please get your children tested for hearing loss. It hardly takes anytime and in case concerns are raised, then thanks to early intervention, any development delays can be avoided. 🙂

This post is in collaboration with Cochlear India but the opinions expressed are my own.