India is currently plagued with the problem of either congenital or gradual hearing loss among nearly 6.3% of its massive population, which is growing by the day. The good news, however, is that the Central Government has taken due note of this situation and is trying to mitigate it by launching the National Deafness Program in collaboration with the Indian Association of Otolaryngologists. Consequently, the country has witnesses the birth and growth of certain hospitals committed solely to the treatment of otolaryngological diseases and defects, particularly the treatment of hearing loss.
The best hospital for hearing loss in India, is dedicated first to identifying the root causes of hearing loss, which may either be congenital or progressive i.e acquired deafness that happens with a person’s advancing age. Such a hospital will always keep in mind that nearly 12.5% of children in India in the 6 to 19 years age group suffer from hearing loss due to the profound use of ear buds/phones turned to high volume when listening to mobile phones or other electronic audio equipment. Moreover, it also keeps in mind that constant exposure to loud noises in certain professions like construction, heavy machinery manufacturing, firearms, power tools or even amplified music is usually the cause of permanent sensorineural hearing loss in other age groups.
The best hospital for hearing loss in India has on its team highly qualified and trained audiologists and ENT specialists who are dedicated to treating problems associated with hearing loss. On seeing patient for the first time, the ENT specialist first studies the patient’s history and locates the fundamental cause of the problem and treats it accordingly to improve the quality of the patient’s life. This hospital has a separate audiometry department that tests the patient’s hearing capacity to quantify the loss, if any. Impedance testing is also done to test the condition of the middle ear in such a hospital which also has state-of-the-art facilities for testing hearing loss in children and infants. These include the ABR test or auditory brain stem response test which uses electrodes to check how the patient’s auditory nerve reacts to a particular sound; and the OAE test or otoacoustic emissions test where microphones placed in the infant’s ears pick up nearby sounds. The test stipulates that any sound ought to echo in the Eustachian tube of the ear. If the is missing, the child is said to be suffering from hearing loss.
For adults and older children, pure tone audiometry is conducted and a tone series is played through headphones. These tones have varying pitches or frequencies measurable in hertz as also loudness or intensity, measurable in decibels. The audiologist who conducts the test controls the tone volume and reduces its loudness until the patient no longer hears it. The test results are plotted on a graph known as an audiogram, which shows the hearing loss pattern.
It is expected also that the best hospital for hearing loss in India will be fully equipped to deal with all surgical procedures for treatment of hearing loss. These include special micro-surgical operations like tympanoplasty, ranging from Grades I-IV as also Cochlear & BAHA Implantation to treat acquired or congenital hearing loss. These surgical procedures need high-powered, fiber optic operating microscopes, special black-finish micro-surgical instruments, high-speed micro drills, and a trained staff of experienced audiologists & speech therapists to provide speech therapy to both children and adults after surgery during their rehabilitation.