Otology is the science of hearing and the best otology doctor in India shall be a medical doctor, preferably with a post graduate degree in ENT surgery to treat aural diseases, particularly deafness. He is trained to prevent, identify, treat and rehabilitate patients with deafness or partial hearing impairment at primary/community health centers and district and private hospitals.
It is also the responsibility of the best otology doctor in India to study and pioneer new methods of treatment for the hearing impaired, decrease their magnitude in the country, reduce the extent/severity of aural morbidity in a large cross section of the Indian population, develop improved service networks for those with hearing impairment/ ear morbidity at the country’s district or state levels and, more importantly, create an effective awareness among grass-root level as also trained health workers through medical officers working in primary and district health centers as an all-encompassing effort.
Even though it may be difficult to point out who the best otology doctor in India is or is likely to be certain standards may be set to judge how many match up to them. These include among others: his ability to involve the larger Indian community to participate in programs to create an awareness about the prevention of hearing loss from the rural & backward areas to the semi-urban and urban masses; developing leadership qualities in medical officers at primary health centers; and most importantly, his personal skills, dedication and commitment towards the creation of a deafness free India.
There is ample scope for the otologist working in India to prove his mettle. Hearing loss is rampant in the country today and according to statistics published by the World Health Organization, about 63 million Indian suffer from auditory impairment. This is roughly 6.3% of India’s population. The NSSO or National Sample Survey Organization has concluded after extensive research that currently 291 Indians per 1 lakh of the population suffer from severe hearing loss, a large percentage being children between the ages of 0 to 14 years.
It goes without saying, therefore, that this alarming number of young Indians who are hearing impaired will eventually lead to severe losses in national productivity in the foreseeable future. And this is exactly where the otologist has a crucial role to play to arrest and repair this unfortunate situation. His work is simply not confined to treating the 4% hearing impaired urban population but should spread to the 11% aurally affected population in the rural areas and city slums. This requires careful screening, counseling, prevention and the curing of both sensorineural and conductive deafness.
In sum, the Indian otologist’s responsibilities in creating a deafness free India are huge. He has on his plate about 50% patients who suffer from sensorineural deafness and are deaf congenitally, while 30% of the congenitally deaf suffer from syndromic deafness also. He should be thoroughly conversant with four hundred different diseases and syndromes and be prepared to work in the toughest of conditions, particularly in the Indian rural areas. Last but not the least, he must be prepared to stick by his oath to serve mankind when he joins the medical profession and alleviate the sufferings of his fellow men.