‘DRDO’s cochlear implants to let millions hear again’

February 5th, 2012 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) Providing a ray of hope for millions of deaf people in the country, Indian defence scientists have developed a low-cost cochlear implant that will enable them hear again, a doctor from a city hospital said here Sunday.

“With the popularity of transcanal technique for cochlear implants, deafness is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Being minimally invasive, the technique is less time-consuming with reduced complications and available at a cost which is 80 percent lesser than the conventional procedure,” said J.M. Hans, chairman, department of ENT and cochlear implantation, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.

The new implants have been developed by the Defense Research Development Organisation (DRDO).

“The low-cost cochlear implants are a boon for the deaf,” Hans said at the 2-day workshop on transcanal technique workshop at the hospital.

The cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing due to loss of sensory hair cells in their cochlea.

Nearly a million people in need of cochlear implants every year were till now forced to use imported cochlear implants, which came at a steep price of Rs.7 lakh to Rs.10 lakh. The Indian version will cost about Rs.1 lakh.

Inaugurating the conference Saturday, former president A.P.J Abdul Kalam, said: “The Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL) at Visakhapatnam, which is a unit of DRDO, has taken the lead and developed this cochlear implant which is undergoing final laboratory evaluation. The DRDO has developed an indigenous and affordable cochlear implant which will be available for clinical trials within four months.”

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