Thursday, June 1, 2023

Kids with damaged cochlear implants suffer due to Government apathy.

Below article authoried by N P C Ramjith for onmanorama dot com highlights how Govt. of Kerala, India has turned a deaf ear to the desperate pleas of 360 hearing impaired children who had undergone the cochlear implant surgery under a government programme named ‘Sruthitharangam’.

These students, who had proper hearing when the previous academic year ended in March, would be attending the new academic year anxious over their fate. The students had gained hearing abilities after cochlear implants were done under ‘Sruthirtharangam’ and could lead the lives similar to other children. However, an American company named Advanced Bionics (AB) which had supplied the implant devices stopped production of various models on March 31, 2023. Consequently, replacement for damaged parts also became impossible and students implanted with these devices face the grim possibility of losing their hearing again.

Incidentally, the company had issued a notice several months ago that production of its Harmony, Auria, Neptune and Platinum models would be ceased. The firm also asked people using these models to switch to Naida and Marvel models. Parents of a majority of the students cannot afford to buy the new models on their own as the device costs around Rs 4 lakh.

“We had informed Minister R Bindu, who is in charge of the social security mission and the officers there as soon as the American firm announced that it was withdrawing the models,” said office-bearers of Cochlear Implantees Association and Charitable Society.

On the World Hearing Day, Malayala Manorama highlighted the plight of these students. Still, there has been no move by the government to address the issue and the students who hear with the aids dread the possibility of their devices developing a snag. In fact, hearing aids of several students are already damaged and they are attending school in a world of silence.

Source: Malayala Manorama

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