Tuesday, September, 2nd, 2014

Mainstreaming Hearing Impaired Children

About one in 1000 babies born in India are profoundly deaf. There are many who do not hear a single word throughout their life. The only treatment available is using hearing aids and going in for a cochlear implant surgery. Hearing aids are not very popular because of their maintenance-related issues and cochlear implant surgery is very costly.

Under such circumstances, providing a ray of hope to hearing impaired children and youth, is one of the projects supported by Concern India Foundation in Mumbai that works with deaf children aiding them in learning to hear and speak with the help of auditory verbal therapy. The project uses latest technology for early diagnosis and intervention, in order to integrate hearing impaired children into mainstream society right from the first day of the intervention.

The project started with six children almost 20 years ago and has over the years, benefitted over 500 children.

A part of the success of the organisation lies in making this therapy and surgery affordable and available for underprivileged children and youth. The hearing aid normally cost from INR 6,000 to INR 60,000 and above. The patient awaiting implant surgery needs to use these for just about four months.

The organisation helps the poor by providing hearing aid to underprivileged children from their hearing aid bank. They also provide interest free loans to needy families for cochlear implants.

The organisation also provides concessional facilities for audiogram, mapping, auditory-verbal therapy before and after the cochlear implants.

9-year-old Anushka had a hearing disability till she received implants though this organisation. Today she is studying in the second grade, participates in most of her school activities and is able to lead a normal and independent life.

Sarika Kamble, Programmes Team, Concern India Foundation (Mumbai)