ALAPPUZHA: "Mindset of the parents in India in seeing their children with hearing equipment in their earlobes as shame has to be changed through education and local government interventions," says Australian cricket legend Brett Lee.
The global ambassador of Cochlear, an Australia-based implantable hearing solution, was in Alappuzha on Sunday as part of a promotion.
Acknowledging the efforts, Mr Lee said that Kerala had gone ahead compared to other states in terms of introducing hearing screening system to detect the hearing ability at birth.
"It has already set up as many as 936 hearing screening points across the state. Others have to follow the Kerala model," he said.
A concerned parent as his son Prinston lost the hearing ability as a result of an accident, Mr Lee said that he was planning to provide financial assistance to the disabled children to give them a second life.
"It's a crime if a parent hides the hearing loss of their children from the public due to stigma. I have travelled a large part of India as part of Cochlear implantation campaign. If there is any superstition or stigma or taboo associated with the hearing loss and Cochlear implantation system, we need to get rid of them," he said.
"Media have a greater role to play in disseminating information about the scientific system. Our aim is that no child should be let to live with hearing loss. In Australia, there is a hundred per cent Auditory Brainstem Response testing facility to screen newborns. Likewise, Indian parents, especially from rural parts, should be educated about technology and the local governments have to come forward to make it available to them."
According to the World Health Organisation, hearing loss affects more than five per cent of the world's population, or over 466 million people suffer from disabling hearing loss, and 34 million of them are children. If relevant measures are not undertaken, over 900 million people will have severe hearing loss by 2050.
Left untreated, it can affect communication and can lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline.
Most people are unaware of the advanced treatment options available. Kerala has more than 1.05 lakh people who have a severe hearing impairment.
Mr Lee also applauded parents of P.A. Rizwana, an MBBS student from Mannanchery, who was born with a hearing disability and had undergone cochlear implant surgery....