Cricket legend and Cochlear's first Global Hearing Ambassador, Brett Lee today unveiled the Indian leg of the global initiative ‘Sounds of Cricket™’ to raise awareness about the significant functional, social, emotional and economic impact of hearing loss on individuals and their families.
Text Box: ü Over 63 million people in India are diagnosed with significant hearing impairment ü 4 in every 1000 children suffer from severe to profound hearing loss ü Every year, 100,000 babies are born with hearing deficiency ü Universal newborn hearing screening can help in early detection and suitable remedial action
Speaking at the press conference, Brett Lee, said, “I am delighted to be in India to help spread the message that if you have hearing loss there is technology that can help. I can’t imagine cricket without sound: on the field not hearing the appeals and the crowd, off the field not hearing team mates, or at home not hearing family. I just can’t imagine it.”
“That’s why a cochlear implant is so important. It can change all of that. I’ve seen it happen. When people are ‘switched on’ for the first time, when they suddenly hear sound, you can see their sheer joy at being able to hear life. It is a wonderful, life changing moment.” Brett Lee said.
He further added, “Unfortunately, there are multiple barriers to getting a cochlear implant. Many parents don’t accept that their children have a hearing problem whilst others are not aware of the available treatment options.
That’s why my message to people in India is that hearing loss is not uncommon and that implant technology can help.”
The 2011 Census highlighted hearing loss as the second most common cause of disability. Delay in the identification and treatment of congenital auditory impairment can profoundly affect the quality of life in terms of language acquisition, social and emotional development and education and employment prospects. Universal newborn hearing screening can help in early detection and suitable remedial action.
Padma Shri awardee Dr. Milind Kirtane, Senior ENT Surgeon, Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai opined, “Every year, 100,000 babies are born with hearing deficiency, there is clearly a need for a universal newborn hearing screening programme in India. Neonatal and infant hearing screening programmes can eventually improve the linguistic and educational outcomes for the child.”
“The importance of a screening programme is to provide effective treatment at the earliest opportunity, thereby reducing suffering due to the impairment. A cochlear implant is probably one of the best inventions in the recent history of medical science. It is the first device that can restore one of the five senses. I urge every parent to screen their newborn babies for hearing. I appeal to the paediatrician community in India to provide hearing screening with the same level of importance as vaccination,” Dr. Kirtane further added.
On the occasion, Brett Lee also unveiled Cochlear India’s Twitter handle (@CochlearIndia). Through this Twitter handle, Brett will share his journey and experience of interacting with Cochlear implant recipients.
To know more about this initiative, people can visit a dedicated website (soundsofcricket.com) where they can access online hearing loss checklists and information to find out if they, or their loved ones, might be experiencing hearing loss. If people wish to seek professional advice, they can use the website to find their nearest hearing health professional.