A life-changing initiative of the government has become a blessing for many hearing impaired poor, with giving them the ability of listening to others and doing all activities like normal ones.
Under the initiative, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) alone successfully treated 293 people, mostly the children who had been suffering from profound hearing loss. After getting the treatment, many of the children heard their parents for the first time.
According to Beltone, a US-based global leader in hearing health care, nearly 70.0 percent of hearing aid wearers have hearing loss in the “mild-to- moderate” range. Many of the remaining 30.0 percent have hearing loss that falls into the “severe-to-profound” category.
The people who have difficulty in hearing soft speech in noisy situations fall in mild category and the moderate category people cannot hear moderate speech when background noise is present.
The people with sever to profound hearing loss have difficulty in hearing and understanding even with amplification.
“We are treating poor people, especially the children who have profound hearing loss to give them the ability of leading a normal life,” vice- chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Prof Dr Kamrul Hasan Khan told BSS.
He said the free treatment is given under a project as per the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and with funding from the social welfare ministry.
Since 2010, BSMMU had treated 141 poor people, mostly children, with Cochlear Implant (CI) when 152 people went under surgery for getting hearing ability, Prof Khan said. Last week BSMMU gave CIs to 72 children free of cost.
Total value of CIs is, however, worth Taka 7.20 crore, he said, noting that the cost of a CI ranges Taka 10 to 20 lakh.
CI, also known as bionic ear, is an artificial electronic hearing device designed to produce useful hearing sensations by stimulating cochlear nerve inside the inner ear. It transforms the mechanical energy of sound into electrical energy which directly excites the remaining auditory fibre.
Besides the BSMMU, CI surgery is now going on in Dhaka Medical College, ENT Hospital and Society for Assistance to Hearing Impaired Children in the capital city.
Experts identified genetic factor, transmitted mainly through marriage between consanguineous relatives; and measles, mumps, rubella virus attack during pregnancy and taking some drugs are the major causes that damage the sound sensitive cochlea of a baby.
The CI could make a big difference to the life of the deaf people, especially the children in the country, the experts said, adding that children aged 2 to 5 years are the most suitable for the treatment.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), about 16 lakh people in Bangladesh are suffering from acute deafness while 2600 children are born every year with deafness, reports BSS.