March 2017 Deccan Herald

komalThe mother of a one-year-old slipped into depression. Their usual family outings on Sunday did not happen anymore. There was less social interaction with others, too. For Komal’s family, it was not easy to cope with the fact that the child had progressive hearing loss. When she was just over one, she was diagnosed. Komal is now a nine-year-old who is in Class 4 at a CBSE school. Like most other children her age, she leads a normal life. A cochlear implant has made that possible.

She was among the children who met former Australian cricketer Brett Lee, the global hearing ambassador for Australian firm Cochlear. Komal has a unilateral implant and her family hopes to get the implant for both her ears.

“Her case is the first in our family. We had found no need to get her screened when she did not respond to sounds well. She was also a silent child who did not talk much,” said her mother.

Initially, Komal’s mother was told by family and friends that the second child develops speech late compared to the first child. However, when her condition did not improve, her parents took Komal to a doctor who diagnosed her with progressive hearing loss. Her mother said “At first, we put her on a hearing aid. It did not make much of a difference. When she turned two, she got an implant.” The child had to undergo speech therapy for over a year to be able to gather sounds and respond. “Yellow was the first colour she learnt; that is her favourite colour,” said her mother. Komal’s family also emphasised on the need for therapy following the implant as the child must pick up the language by hearing sounds and not by action or lip movement.