500 children with congenital hearing loss to receive free cochlear implant: Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar

Pramesh S Jain & Yogesh K Porwar

Government is committed to making Karnataka free of hearing impairment

The government will give gift of hearing to 500 children below the age of 6 who were born with congenital hearing loss by providing them with free Cochlear Implants.

Karnataka Health department is working on a mission mode with the slogan “Health for All” to cover every aspect of health and well-being and as part of it a new initiative has been planned to make Karnataka free from hearing impairments.

Special attention has been paid to eliminating hearing loss in children under 6 years of age, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said.

Chief Minister Basavaraja Bommai announced the creation of ‘Hearing Impairment Free Karnataka’ in the budget of 2022-23 and Minister Sudhakar reviewed the progress of the programe.

Minister Sudhakar said that this year, special attention has been paid to solving the problems of children with congenital hearing impairment,and the government has made all arrangements to provide free cochlear implants to 500 children to improve their speech and hearing ability.

In the current financial year, 1,939 children below the age of 6 years have been identified with hearing impairment.

Most of them have suffered from congenital deafness and the main reason for this is the consumption of medicine,viral infection, suffocation and shock in the mother during the prenatal period,Minister Sudhakar said.

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps children with severe and profound hearing loss hear sounds.

The minister explained that the implant is inserted into the cochlear of ​​the inner ear.The processor of the device is placed behind the ear,and the hearing mechanism of the human body that had been dormant starts working again and transmits the audio signals to the brain.

Free treatment is provided by the government and an honorarium of Rs.250 will given to Asha workers who have helped in the identification of such children and have aided in the entire process.

20 hospitals including KC General Hospital,Indira Gandhi Children’s Institute,Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital,Bangalore Medical College – BMCRI,KIMS Hubli have been identified to perform the procedure as they are well equipped for surgery. Minister Sudhakar said that additional hospitals will be included for free surgery.

Beneficiaries are identified by audiology teams working under National Program for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) in collaboration with Mobile Health Teams under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).

The identified eligible children will be sent to taluk and district-level hospitals for further evaluation and management, Minister Sudhakar said.

Surgery for 62 children

At present 652 such children have been identified in the state, out of which 586 children are receiving treatment at various levels.

So far 62 children have been operated on and 258 children are being monitored. Initially 142 children will be receiving hearing aid treatment, Minister Sudhakar said.