- Thanks to Indian NGO – SAHI, kids from an impoverished family will now able to
hear & speak
- Brings unbounded joy & hope to the family
Hyderabad, January 2023: Apollo Cochlear Implant Clinic, Apollo Hospitals– Hyderabad, successfully performed Cochlear Implant surgeries on three siblings, born deaf and dumb due to consanguineous marriage. The three children, Baby Dharani aged 3 years old, Baby Pavithra aged 4 years and Master Arjun aged 5 years; of Mr Alakunta Seetha Ramulu and Mrs Mamata; had total hearing impairment by birth and couldn’t hear or speak. The treatment expenses were well beyond the means of their father, a contract driver at Miryalaguda, and therefore approached ENT and Cochlear Implant Clinic at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, for succor. The Apollo Cochlear Implant Clinic is the first such clinic established in 1994 in South India, at Apollo Health City, Hyderabad and performed South India’s First Cochlear Implant Surgery in 1995. The Clinic performed over 2000 Cochlear Implants till date, one of the largest in this part of the country.
The team led by Dr E C Vinaya Kumar, HOD & Senior Consultant ENT and Cochlear Implant Clinic, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad; and comprising of Dr K Rambabu, Senior Consultant ENT, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad; Dr Jaswinder Singh Saluja, Senior Consultant ENT, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad; Dr J N Reddy, Senior Consultant Anaesthesia, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad; Dr I Srikanth, Chief Audiologist, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad; and others, conducted the necessary tests on the three kids and applied for free cochlear implant surgery under the ADIP scheme. On approval, Cochlear Implant surgeries were performed on all three of them simultaneously, on 12th January 2023. All three implant surgeries were successful, and in a fortnight’s time, the kids will be able to hear and talk as well.
Dr Ravinder Babu, Director Medical Services, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad; said, often such children with hearing impairment are diagnosed at a late stage by then the ailment becomes irreparable and they have to live with a disability for lifetime. Most such patients are from lower social economic sections, who can’t afford such costly treatment and the patient suffers for life. The awareness about availability of such advanced treatment is lacking among common people, therefore media should help create awareness about this and help such children lead a normal life.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 63 million people suffer from significant hearing impairment every year in India. Around 4-5 babies in every 1000 born suffer from severe to profound hearing loss in India. If left untreated in the initial 3 to 5 years, these children may end up with permanent hearing and speech loss throughout their lifetime”, says Dr E.C. Vinaya Kumar.
Cochlear implant surgery restores hearing in children or adults with severe and profound sensorineural hearing loss. The cochlear implant is an electronic device which contains an internal implant (surgically implanted inside the cochlea) and an external sound processor (will be seen over or above the ear). As these devices are imported and expensive, it was financially difficult for many middle-class and lower-income families.
“The prevalence of hearing disability is seen more in children born out of consanguineous marriages in India. More than 50% of cases are due to genetic abnormalities”, Dr K. Rambabu adds.
Mr Alakunta Seetha Ramulu father of the three kids said, all my three children suffer from deaf and dumbness, when we checked for treatment, we were told that the treatment of each of them would cost Rs 10 lakhs. We later came to know of Apollo Hospitals providing Cochlear Implant treatment and the Doctors here provided excellent treatment and are happy that our children can hear and speak in a few days. We never imagined that our children will ever speak, never thought our kids would ever call us mom and dad, but today we are hopeful of that. Also, my advice is not to encourage consanguineous weddings.
Dr Jaswinder Singh Saluja said, even the most powerful hearing aid can’t help children born with hearing impairment and such kids can’t speak too. Cochlear Implant treatment is the only option for these children. Early detection and treatment is critical for children born with hearing impairment, to benefit. We have started new born screening, Apollo Hospital is the first hospital to start such screening in the state.
The first free cochlear implant surgery was performed in India under the Rajiv Aarogyasri Scheme in 2007 in the erstwhile combined State of Andhra Pradesh under the leadership of Chief Minister Late Sri Dr Y.S.Rajashekar Reddy Garu, the efforts of SAHI and Apollo Cochlear implant clinic led by Dr E.C.Vinaya Kumar. Later, observing the success of the scheme, several State Governments, including the Central Government started funding free cochlear implant surgeries in India.
The ADIP scheme for free cochlear implant surgery, funded by the Central Government of India since 2016, is helping thousands of children with total hearing disabilities every year.
About Society to Aid the Hearing Impaired (SAHI)
In November 2004, a group of ENT surgeons, audiologists, and Apollo hospital management joined hands with concerned citizens to form SAHI. It is an Indian NGO that aims at helping underprivileged children with impaired hearing. SAHI mainly seeks to identify and aid children living in rural areas with little or no access to modern medical treatment.
Since its establishment, SAHI has been addressing this problem by means of conducting camps in remote areas of the state. SAHI gives children with learning disabilities or hearing loss hearing aids and performs free ear surgeries for those with ear diseases.
About Apollo Hospitals
The Apollo Cochlear Implant Clinic, the first in South India, was established in 1994 at the Apollo Health City, Hyderabad, under the leadership of Dr E.C. Vinaya Kumar. With more than 1900 implantations performed since 1994, with the Limca Book of World Records for doing 18 surgeries in a single day, our Cochlear Implant Program has grown to be one of the largest pediatric implant programs in India and South Asia. This multidisciplinary team has special expertise in evaluating and implanting very young children, including infants. The team serves children and adults of all ages with hearing impairment.
About Apollo Hospitals
It was in 1983, that Dr.Prathap Reddy made a pioneering endeavour by launching India’s first corporate hospital – Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Now, as Asia’s largest and most trusted healthcare group, its presence includes 8,488 beds across 51 Hospitals, 1,586 Pharmacies, 92 Primary Care and Diagnostic Clinics, and 100 Telemedicine units across 10 countries. Health Insurance services, Global Projects Consultancy, 15 colleges of Nursing and Hospital Management and a Research Foundation with a focus on global Clinical Trials, epidemiological studies, stem cell & genetic research and the first Proton Therapy Centre across Asia, Africa and Australia.
In a rare honour, the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in recognition of Apollo’s contribution, the first for a healthcare organization. Apollo Hospitals Chairman, Dr Prathap C Reddy, was conferred with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 2010. For more than 28 years, the Apollo Hospitals Group has continuously excelled and maintained leadership in medical innovation, world-class clinical services and cutting-edge technology. Our hospitals are consistently ranked amongst the best hospitals globally for advanced medical services and research.