15 December 2018
What could be the first of its kind in the region, Fortis Hospital, Mohali today launched Cochlear Implant Clinic here.
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.
Dr Ashok Gupta, Director, Department of ENT, Fortis Hospital, Mohali while addressing the media at a press conference here emphasized the need for Cochlear Implant surgery in children during early days. “Most of the children remain undiagnosed or are diagnosed very late. Dr Gupta advised for regular medical checkup with specialist so that it can be diagnosed early, and corrective surgery can be taken for a better quality of life”, he said.
Dr Gupta explained, “The treatment is done in the form of cochlear implantation which is a 2-hour surgery and requires 2-3 days hospitalization & the implant requires a switch on after 3 weeks. The main factors which assure success include right candidate selection, right evaluation & good quality of implant in addition to surgical technique. Another factor that ensures success is post-op rehabilitation, ie; speech therapy to ensure that child starts hearing & speaking. The best results are obtained if the implant is done easily in life that is as early as when the child is 6 months of age. The brain’s area for speech development is taken over by visual area after 6 years of age, so earlier the better.”
He further added, the incidence of deafness amongst new born children is 4 of 1000 live born children. Government of India has started early intervention in the form of otoacoustic emission as a screening test to be done for every hospital born child, though it is strictly not being followed. It is done only for high risk cases i.e. children who had significant jaundice/cried late after birth etc. These children require evaluation in the form of field audiometry, ABER & ASSR. Then further evaluation is to see whether cochlear (Hearing Organ) is formed or not by getting CT Scan & MRI of temporal bone.
Once diagnosis is made , these children are subjected to CT/MRI of inner ear to see for anatomical integrity of hearing organ and then surgical intervention is done for eligible candidates. It is a 2 hour surgery, requiring 2-3 day hospitalization and a switch on after 3 weeks. Post op rehabilitation that is speech therapy is a must for success of surgery. Best results are obtained it surgery is done as early as 6-8 months of infant., explained Dr. Gupta, who has already done 400 Cochlear Implants with excellent outcomes.
Fortis Mohali has started cochlear implant for patients from Abroad, recently a patient was operated for profound hearing loss from Ethiopia. The family specifically chose this place considering the credentials of the Surgeon and the Hospital. The results are excellent and as per the family it is much cheaper here. This can really help as a reach out program for children even from overseas born deaf and mute to not only provide them with excellent care and treatment but also a cheaper treatment compared to their own country.