Bengaluru: Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar has announced that the state government would offer free cochlear implants to 500 children below the age of six.
“The government will give gift of hearing to 500 children below the age of six, who were born with congenital hearing loss by providing them with free cochlear implants. Special attention has been paid to eliminating hearing loss in children under six years of age,” he said.
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced the creation of ‘hearing impairment free Karnataka’ in the state budget of 2022-23.
Sudhakar said that this year, special attention has been paid to solving the problems of children with congenital hearing impairment.
“In the current financial year, 1,939 children below the age of six 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,” the minister said.
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps children with severe and profound hearing loss hear sounds. 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 ₹250 will given to Asha workers who have helped in the identification of such children and have aided in the entire process. As many as 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,” he said.
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.