Cochlear implants saving children from permanent deafness

Cochlear implant device. PHOTO via @medel

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization 2019 report. 34 million of the people with the disabling hearing loss are children.

However, 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes. Profound deafness among children affects their communication skills, education and future employment opportunities.

2-year-old Awesome Edwin Onyisi is one of such children. He was born at 7 months and got an infection, which caused him hearing difficulties.

After 1 year and six months, his parents discovered he could not hear prompting them to look for solution from Kampala Audiology Center, which advised them to arrange for a cochlear implant.

Onyisi is recovering at International Hospital Kampala-IHK after receiving a cochlear implant on Sunday last week. A Cochlear implant is an electronic device implanted into one’s ear by surgery to enable partial hearing.

The implant comes in as hope for those that have profound hearing loss and cannot be assisted by hearing devices.

Mohammed El Disouky from Africa Development and Regional Manager Medical Electronics (MED-EL) says cochlear implants are recommended for children between two and three years since they have not yet developed speech.

He says for those above, chances are that they will be able to hear but unable to speak properly.

Prior to the introduction of cochlear implants in Uganda, only a few patients with the means could fly out to countries such as India, USA and Canada among others making it very costly for individuals.

Apparently, Kampala Audiology and Speech Center in collaboration with International Hospital Kampala (IHK) carry out regular cochlear implants in Uganda since 2017. It is not common because of the high costs involved similar to buying a car, according to Diskouy.

For this most recent implant, it cost an individual $24,000 (about Shillings 89 m) for the entire process including two cochlear devices, surgery and rehabilitation for a year after the procedure.

According to Diskouy, government should render support through the National Health Insurance scheme to enable more citizens benefit from cochlear implants like Egypt where they are able to do up to 3,000 implants annually.

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The post Cochlear implants saving children from permanent deafness appeared first on The Independent Uganda:.

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