Before we get into Cochlear implant surgery cost in India, it is important to first specify why this is implantation is required. The procedure is undoubtedly a most notable development in correcting or curing deafness, particularly in children, a problem that is growing in rural India by the day. Cochlear implant surgery has proved successful on thousands of patients suffering from conductive deafness, which in other words is gradual loss of hearing or even permanent deafness.
The process involves placing a tiny computerized device in the middle ear of the patient so that those suffering from ‘nerve deafness’ can hear better. The device is designed to actually stimulate the patient’s auditory nerve by transmitting coded electrical signals that bypass the damaged or impaired hair cells of the cochlea that account for the problem of ‘nerve deafness.’ These also act as an impediment to the brain to receive natural sounds, even when highly sophisticated and state-of-the-art hearing aids have been used.
On the flip side, however, Cochlear implant surgery cost in India is somewhat prohibitive and cannot be afforded by all and sundry. The cost was initially a whopping Rs 11 lakhs, which obviously the Indian rural population, a majority of which is still below the poverty line, cannot afford. The problem magnifies because it is in the rural sector that nerve deafness is most widely recorded. This expense is largely attributable to the fact that the implant currently continues to be imported and its price per se constitutes nearly 65% of the total procedural cost.
However, efforts made by the Indian government have proved successful to reduce Cochlear implant surgery cost in India to roughly Rs 6 lakhs. The Central government invited competitive bids during the launch of its National Deafness Program to help out those disabled persons with hearing problems with appropriate aids and appliances. The initial steps in the Program have brought in 500 children to undergo Cochlear implant procedures annually. Further efforts are one to reduce the current cost of Rs 6 lakhs to Rs 1 lakh so that the poor can largely benefit from it.
The Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Defense, Govt. of India, has already made major advances in the development of an indigenous implant that is expected to replace imports and cut costs substantially. However, its clinical trials are not over yet and thus, the, however, have not yet been conducted and thus, the cost continues to be around Rs 6.6 lakhs till date.
The results of the DRDO efforts are being eagerly awaited as it’ll come as a boon to poor children who suffer from congenital hearing and speech disabilities. It needs to be noted, however, that the procedure may be performed on those children who are born deaf and mute an up to the age of 6 years only. For adults suffering from conductive or nerve deafness, the procedure will bring relief, particularly in cases where hearing aids don’t work anymore.