Pune: Cochlear Implant Programme Helps 178 Children In 2023 Integrate Into The Mainstream

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Pune, 13 December 2023: The Big Ears Department at KEM Hospital, Pune will host it’s annual graduation programme for students who have undergone cochlear implant followed by rehabilitation programme. About 178 children have completed the program this year which also includes listening and speaking. Till date 641 children have benefitted from this pioneering initiative by KEM Hospital, Pune started in 2006.The graduation ceremony will be held on Friday 15th December 2023 at KEM Hospital, Pune and includes students who have developed near normal speech and language skills enabling him/ her to become a part of mainstream society. They no longer require continuous assistance from the hospital team.

Dr. Neelam Vaid, HoD Big Ears who was instrumental in setting up this Big Ears clinic in 2006 said this unique initiative focuses on early detection, diagnosis and therapy of hearing loss. Big Ears clinic offers all the services needed for the hearing challenged; from a variety of tests that detect hearing loss to hearing aids, speech therapy, counselling and cochlear implants for the totally deaf. Post the implant the children undergo a rehabilitation program under the guidance of team consisting of audiologists, therapists, speech and language pathologists and surgeons who ensure that the family receives appropriate advice and care. It does not end there, 98% of our patients come from families that cannot afford this expensive technology. Over the past 18 years we have helped many children and their families get financial aid and acquire this technology. It’s not been an easy task and the commitment of the social workers of the KEM Hospital, Pune is to be lauded.

She added that a graduation programme generally is for those who have passed their academic tests. But this graduation programme is special as it reflects a much better life ahead for the children and salutes the commitment of the parents whose perseverance has given a new lease of life for their children.

As every year, children will put up a special dance performance during the programme as a gratitude for the support they received from everyone.

Dr. Madhur Rao, Senior Deputy Medical Administrator, KEM Hospital, Pune said that this is a joyous occasion for all of us as the children undergoing cochlear implant and rehabilitation program are able to enjoy much better quality of life. We are proud of Big Ears which is one of our pioneering initiatives and will continue to reach out to children in need. Shirin Wadia, General Administrator at KEM Hospital, Pune said that the pioneering integrated approach has helped many children from across all sections of the society. There is no better joy than seeing children get a near normal life. We would like to congratulate the entire team of Big Ears Clinic for their dedication to this cause.

The team at Big Ears led by HOD Dr.Neelam Vaid includes Medical Social Worker Anuradha Chavan Mandhare, ENT Surgeons Dr.Ajay Kothadiya and Dr.Nikhil Gokhale, Audiologists Rajesh Nikam, Ashutosh Kumar Dubey and Anirudhha Katkar, Auditory Verbal Therapists Kalyani Salve and Priyanka Endal, Special Educator Shweta Jahagirdar, Speech Language Therapists Krutika Gajane, Palal Julaniya, Rameshwari Sarje and Ciya Thomas.