Dr Abiodun Olusesi, a consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon has called for concerted effort to eradicate hearing impairment in Nigeria.
Olusesi, who is the head of ENT department National Hospital, Abuja, made the call while heading a cochlear implantation in the hospital on Sunday.
He said that the number of hearing impaired population is on the rise and people can hardly afford treatment or implants.
He called on Governments, philanthropists and NGOs to collaborate with the Otorhinolaryngological society of Nigeria to subsidise the price of the implant.
Olusesi added that this would enable more people with hearing impairment to access hearing aid, hearing surgery and cochlear implant.
The surgeon said that the best stage to record a high success from the implantation is to perform it while the child is still young even though this does not eliminate its performance at a later stage.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cochlear implant is a surgically implanted neuroprosthetic device to provide a person with moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss with a modified sense of sound.
Cochlear implant bypasses the normal acoustic hearing process to replace it with electric signals which directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
The surgeon said the cochlear implant device cost about six million Naira in the country, adding that the hospital contacted COCHLEAR in Europe to make the implant and surgery accessible to Nigerians.
“Out of the number that requires hearing aid, only one might be able to afford it and out of the four that requires an implant none could afford it.
“So we thought if we could cut off the additional expenses of travel to and fro, going for follow ups and substitute it with a substituted cost negotiated from COCHLEAR, per chance we will be able to help more people that require cochlear implant.”
Olusesi said that the Cochlear programme commenced in 2010 in the hospital and so far about 18 cochlear implantation have been done successfully.
“To make it more affordable, the hospital charges N375,000 for adult and N187,500 for children after they might have paid six million Naira for the device.
“For today’s implant, we had two patients; a three-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man.
He appealed to government to approve neonatal screening for new born babies for early detection of hearing impairment and successful treatment or implant.
Prof. Firas Azoubi, Director Cochlear Implant hearing solution centre, King Abdullah hospital, Jordan said that the implant was perfect except for the minor effects that comes generally with any implantations.
He also noted that if the government can come to the aid of the hearing impaired, it would be a good development for the country.
Dr Simeon Afolabi, a consultant audiologist and Cochlear’s Nigeria representative, said that it is about time government begin to see hearing impairment as a cause for national concern.
Afolabi said efforts have been made towards getting the government to come to the aid of the hearing impaired.