Mysuru: According to the 2011 Census, more than 2.35 lakh people in Karnataka suffer from profound hearing impairment. Cricket legend Brett Lee, who is the Brand Ambassador for Cochlear, a Australian base company, was in city on Friday to raise awareness about Universal New-born Hearing Screening (UNHS). ENT Surgeon Dr. H.A. Dathathri also joined him to talk about hearing issues and the need for early screening and intervention for children with profound hearing loss.
Speaking at a media briefing, Brett Lee said: “Technology is transforming the experience of deafness. I feel fortunate to be able to use my profile to draw attention to the importance of good hearing and the consequences of hearing loss in India. I strongly believe that everybody deserves to hear the sounds of life and that no one in this world deserves to live in silence.”
“Parents and family members should not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss and should take speedy action. I have personally witnessed how an implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life changing moment,” he said.
Speaking at the briefing, Dr. Dathathri (Consultant- ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital, Mysuru) said, “Our country lacks public awareness about hearing loss, its causes, signs and how and when to seek necessary treatment. With technological advancement, hearing loss can now be detected at birth itself. There was a time when children with hearing loss had to learn and master sign language and adjust to a life without sound. But that does not hold true anymore. The newborn screening programme is a first of its kind and an important support for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. An infant’s first hearing screening is recommended typically within the first month of life and a child as young as 12 months of age can receive cochlear implants that can potentially restore hearing.”
Cricketer interacts with AIISH students
How do you feel when you see hearing impaired children? Can these children participate in sports? Can cricket be played in silence? Why have you involved yourself in creating awareness about this problem?” These were the searching questions posed by the students of All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) to Brett Lee at an interaction held at the Knowledge Park auditorium at its premises here yesterday.
Speaking on the occasion, Brett Lee said that just as lot of importance is given to Polio in this country, the same importance must be given to infants with hearing impairment. If the problem is diagnosed at a young age then it can be addressed easily. Lauding the efforts of Kerala, a first in the country to screen children for hearing loss in 66 government maternity centres, he wonder such tests were not being conducted in Mysuru and Mumbai. Lee’s son was five when he had a fall and fractured part of his skull. The injury was close to his ear and led to hearing loss in one of the ears which was later restored. This incident made him realise that no one deserves to live in silence.