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Will an ear implant surgery cure my brother's hearing loss?

Q: My 14-year-old brother is suffering from hearing loss since childhood, 75 per cent hearing loss in his left ear and 90 per cent in his right ear. As a result, he can only produce certain sounds, but cannot speak. He underwent a test at a Delhi hospital, and we were told that the problem is not by birth, but due to some strong medicine he took as a baby. Can he undergo an ear implant surgery, in which the aid is fitted into the ear? What is the cost and which hospital should we contact for this?

A:There are a variety of options available for the management of deafness. These include standard hearing aids, implantable hearing aids and cochlear implants. The best management for a particular patient depends on a number of factors including severity of hearing loss, age of onset as well as duration of deafness, the nature of speech, age of the patient, etc. You are advised to get a detailed evaluation by the team (surgeon, audiologist and speech therapist) who will then be in a position to give you a realistic expectation of the outcomes both in terms of hearing and speech development, as well as the costs involved depending on the type of treatment chosen. Most large hospitals in Delhi have a cochlear implant programme and you could contact the hospitals to guide you to the right person.

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