AIISH experts ask PM Modi to focus on hearing disability in Mann Ki Baat
Experts from the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) in Mysuru have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to focus on hearing disability in his radio show Mann KI Baat. A step that has been welcomed by experts working in the field who have been pushing for Universal New Born Hearing Screening to be made mandatory.
The All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), the Mysuru – based research and training institute focusing on hearing and speech disability, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create awareness about the issue on his radio show Mann Ki Baat.
Established in 1966, AIISH is regarded as a centre of excellence in the field of communication disorders and focuses on rehabilitation and building awareness.
3 March is World Hearing Day
In a letter to PM Modi, AIISH Director Professor M Pushpavathi has urged him to speak on hearing disability and spread awareness on the issue through his radio show. PM Modi has been asked to make this the topic of his show in the last week of February. 3 March is being observed as World Hearing Day by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The theme for 2020 is – Hearing for life. Don’t let hearing loss limit you.
In her letter, Prof Pushpavathi has mentioned that 19% of India’s disabled population has significant hearing loss. This is according to the 2011 Census.
Early onset of hearing loss hinders the development of speech and language in young children. Research has revealed that among such children, if hearing loss is detected before three months of age and effective rehabilitation is provided, normal speech and language abilities can be developed. – Prof M Pushpavathi, Director, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing
In the letter she asks PM Modi to also release a short video message to the larger public on the importance of paying attention to hearing health.
Early screening for hearing disability needed
Speaking to NewzHook, Vahishtai J Daboo, Co-founder and Trustee, VConnect Foundation, welcomed the move to reach out to PM Modi. “Each of us professionals have been trying to reach out to the government and urging them to make Universal New Born Hearing Screening mandatory over the last few years. We really hope that the initiative is successful. If the top political leadership like PM Modi is made to understand the importance of UNBHS for all babies born in India, I am positive that they will initiate action towards making it mandatory”.
Daboo says that contrary to general belief, 95% of deaf children have some residual hearing.
“If identified young, they can be taught to ‘Listen and Speak’. 0- 2 years is the most critical period for neural plasticity, to enable the brain to make maximum neurological connections for the development of speech and language. UNBHS has resulted in significantly lowering the average age of identification in the developed countries. Screening is a necessary first step, which then needs to be followed up with early intervention which is fitting of the most appropriate amplification device and extensive ‘Auditory Verbal Therapy’ by qualified Auditory Verbal Therapists”.
The AIISH director has also written to the Union Health Minister Dr Harshavardhan, urging him to observe World Hearing Day. He has been asked to initiate public education activities on hearing healthcare and to inform all concerned hospitals in this regard.
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