Brett Lee bats for newborn hearing screening

Former Australian cricketer and Cochlear’s global hearing ambassador Brett Lee in Mysuru on Friday.

Former Australian cricketer and Cochlear’s global hearing ambassador Brett Lee in Mysuru on Friday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM


Former Australian cricketer and Cochlear’s global hearing ambassador Brett Lee was in Mysuru on Friday to raise awareness about Universal Newborn Hearing Screening. He stressed the need for early screening and intervention to help children with profound hearing loss.

Addressing mediapersons, he said 466 million people, including 34 million children, suffer from hearing loss issues across the world. There is a need to address this problem using technology and educating people about implants that can eventually change the life of a hearing-impaired person, he said.

Dathathri H.A., consultant ENT, head and neck surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital, Mysuru, and Shailaja Shukla, clinical director and consultant audiologist and speech language pathologist accompanied Mr. Lee.

The former speedster suggested that, as in Australia, every newborn should be screened for hearing loss so he or she can lead a normal life with early intervention such cochlear implant.

Mr. Lee said Kerala has launched hearing screening for children in its 66 government maternity centres. This can be replicated here too, he said. “Besides providing assistance, the government can help us in spreading the word about the available technological interventions for addressing hearing loss at an early age,” Mr. Lee said.

Atharva Hegde, a boy aged under three who has undergone a cochlear implant surgery, was presented before the press with his mother on the occasion. Dr. Dathathri maintained that the boy’s condition had improved thanks to the implant and that he was learning to speak.

He said the newborn screening programme is an important support mechanism for children who are born deaf or are hard of hearing. An infant can be screened within the first month of its birth, and a child as young as 12 months of age can receive cochlear implant for restoring hearing, he explained.

The boy’s mother, Amrutha, said her son’s hearing loss was identified when he was one year and four months old. The surgery was done four months ago. “Technology has given a new life to my son,” she said.

Later, Mr. Lee visited the All-India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), a premier institute in the area of speech and hearing, and interacted with the students there. He saw the facilities developed at the institute, which has state-of-the-art infrastructure for addressing communication disorders.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2019 12:36:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/brett-lee-bats-for-newborn-hearing-screening/article24897247.ece

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