Doctors write to PM Modi to reduce cost of cochlear implants for the deaf

Various doctors and health activists have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help in bringing down the price of the cochlear implant. The implant costs more than Rs five lakh on an average.

Doctors say that nearly one lakh children are born each year with hearing impairments but the price of cochlear implants has not dropped for the past 17 years.

A Karnataka-based ENT surgeon sent a petition to the PM last month asking him to look into the matter. There are four companies that manufacture these products and import it to India. They are imported at a cost of Rs 2.85-3 lakh for each implant, but are sold at a price of Rs 5.5 lakh or upwards.

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear to provide sound signals to the brain.

The cochlear implant technology can help people who have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears and receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. It can also be used on people who score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests.

Many people have cochlear devices in both ears. Listening with two ears can improve your ability to identify the direction of sound and separate the sounds you want to hear from those you don't.

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