Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:36:57 GMT

Cochlear implants offering hope to the deaf

New Delhi, July 29 (PTI) Where stem cell therapy has apparently failed, a tiny electronic device implanted in the inner year is offering hope to thousands of children suffering from acute hearing loss in the country who cannot be helped by hearing aids.

A cochlear implant is a device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the auditory (hearing) nerve in the inner ear. Over 63,000 children in India need hearing implants and only 6,500 have been able to avail it so far.

Australia, which is the highest exporter of Cochlear implant worldwide, is now teeming up with Indian hospitals to help identify the patients who can benefit the most by the surgery.

Terming it as the best therapy for hearing impaired which has been able to help over two lakh people world-wide, Innovation Minister of Australia Kim Carr today said that it was important that the children with disability are identified at an early stage.

"Research has shown us that early exposure to sound helps babies develop the connections in the brain that enable them to understand the sounds around them for the rest of their life. So the earlier children are fitted with hearing aids the better it is," Carr who visited the cochlear implant unit of Sir Ganga Ram hospital said.

"At the Cochlear Implant Unit, Australian technology is helping Indian doctors identify which babies could benefit the most from a cochlear implant, rather than other treatments," Senator Carr said. .

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