Four-year old Iraqi hears for first time

New Delhi: Four-year-old Khalid from Iraq was born deaf and mute but thanks to a cochlear implant can now hear.

It took Khalid's parents almost a year after his birth to realise their son could not hear and did not respond to sounds. From then on it was a major battle for his parents as they tried their utmost to make the life of their son liveable.

However, things changed when they got in touch with the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad.

Lalit Parashar, senior ENT consultant of the hospital, examined Khaled and concluded his hearing loss was very profound, a release said here Tuesday.

His parents were advised to opt for a cochlear implant, followed by rehabilitation therapy to make him speak. The implant was carried out earlier this month.

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that is partially implanted surgically into the cochlea, the hearing organ of the inner ear. It uses electrical current to bypass damaged or missing portions of the inner ear and stimulates remaining hearing nerve fibres.

A microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter are worn externally. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

"Hearing loss is one of the most common major abnormalities present at birth and if undetected impede speech, language and cognitive development, significant bilateral hearing loss is present in about one to three per 1,000 newborns," Parashar said.