Cricket Icon Brett Lee comes forward to spread awareness on hearing health in Assam
International Cricket Icon Brett Lee visited Guwahati to raise awareness about the significant functional, social, emotional and economic impact of hearing impairment on individuals and their families. As one of the world's fastest bowler, who has smashed multiple cricket records, Brett's new target is raising awareness about hearing loss. Key opinion leaders from the city – Prof. Kalpana Sharma (Professor & Cochlear Implant Surgeon, Guwahati Medical College & Hospital) and Prof. Nirmal C Bhattacharjee (Nodal Officer for Samarth Assam scheme), got together to escalate conversations on the current hearing health situation in the state of Assam.
Speaking at the briefing Brett Lee said, “Today, hearing loss has become a huge global public health issue. I wish to use this platform to say that everyone deserves to enjoy the sounds of everyday life. I want to help make sure, that anyone who is living in this world can experience the sounds of joy, be able hear the voices of loved ones, family and friends. Parents and family members should not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss and should take speedy action. I have personally witnessed how a cochlear implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life changing moment. Kerala has set a benchmark by mandating Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) in all government hospitals. They also have a comprehensive programme to tackle hearing loss. I think the work they have been doing is phenomenal and other states too should follow their footsteps to ensure that everyone can experience the sound of happiness.”
As per the 2011 census, India has more than 50 lakh citizens who suffer from some form of hearing loss. Around 5 per cent of the world’s population is disabled by hearing loss. Despite these shocking numbers, most people are unaware of the advanced treatment options available.
Addressing the briefing, Prof. Kalpana Sharma (Professor & Cochlear Implant Surgeon, Guwahati Medical College & Hospital), said, “Symptoms of hearing loss are not visible and hence it is often treated as a low profile disability. Assam has more than 1 lakh citizens who suffer from hearing impairment. A devastating 27,000 plus children are born deaf in India every year, which delays development of speech, language and cognition. This hampers the child’s education, career and entire life. However, Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) can identify any sign of hearing impairment, and early detection makes treatment a possibility. Medical technology has given birth to a great innovation that can now restore one's hearing ability and can totally transform the life of the recipient. This helps providing treatment at an early stage, thereby reducing the trauma of hearing loss.”
Brett Lee addressing the crowd at GMCH