Cochlear implant benefits hearing-impaired kids

By Dong Xiaodi and Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 2, 2018
Yue Yue and her parents arrive in the Beijing West Railway Station on May 17, 2018. Yue Yue will receive a free cochlear implant surgery at the Beijing Children's Hospital Affiliated to the Capital University of Medical Sciences. [Photo by Gao Nan, Yang Jianjun and Wei Xing/]

Yue Yue (pseudonym), a 2-year-old hearing-impaired girl from a poor family in Gansu province, is expected to be able to hear and speak thanks to a free cochlear implant surgery in Beijing.

The surgery occurred at the Beijing Children's Hospital Affiliated to the Capital University of Medical Sciences on May 23. "It was a successful surgery and all the tests showed satisfactory results," said a doctor to Xi Fang (pseudonym), Yue Yue's mother.

The 28-year-old mother is from Xihe county in Gansu's Longnan city. In a health check during week 38 of her pregnancy, she was told by doctors that her fetus was likely to suffer from a congenital disease as a result of oligohydramnios, a condition in pregnancy characterized by a deficiency of amniotic fluid. Xi Fang insisted on giving birth to the baby as the pregnancy was almost at full term.

When Yue Yue was one month old, Xi Fang took her to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, for a health check. Doctors said that Yue Yue's hearing and speaking development would be much slower than that of a healthy child.

Gradually, Yue Yue's hearing impairment became more and more obvious. When she was 1 year and 2 months old, she still couldn't speak. Finally, she was diagnosed with extremely severe hearing impairment in her left ear, and complete deafness in her right.

In despair, Xi Fang had to quit her job to take care of her daughter. The family relied solely on her husband who worked odd jobs in county towns. Without a fixed income, life went from bad to worse.

Cochlear implantation became the only hope for Yue Yue, but the cost was a source of frustration for the family. Have traveled extensively for medical treatment, the young couple had to regularly borrow money to keep up with their increasing debt.

"Even the cheapest cochlear implant costs tens of thousands of yuan per ear, followed by an additional cost of postoperative cochlear adjustment and maintenance ranging from 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan each year," said Xi Fang. Moreover, hearing-recovery training was also quite expensive.

Xi Fang learned from doctors that the best time to treat a hearing-impaired child is before the age of 5. After that, even with an implant, the child would still be unable to speak as the development window for related nerves has been missed.

The turning point came in January 2018 just when Xi Fang had given up hope about doing the surgery.

According to a poverty alleviation project targeting the county of Xihe in Gansu province, the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF) organized a group of doctors and experts to visit hearing-impaired children in the area.

After a thorough screening process, 12 hearing-impaired children were selected to receive a free cochlear implant in Beijing, including Yue Yue.

On May 17, as the first batch of patients, Yue Yue and other seven children came to Beijing for their cochlear implant surgeries. All their medical treatment expenses, together with their transportation and accommodation costs, were covered by the CCTF.

On May 23, Yue Yue underwent surgery, which lasted more than two hours.

On May 27, the cochlear signal processors, implanted in all eight hearing-impaired children, underwent a trial run lasting four hours, during which the young patients, with their heads shaved, were very curious about the sound they heard for the first time in their life.

With Yue Yue's hearing impairment being treated, Xi Fang was no longer so anxious. She couldn't wait to hear her child open her mouth and say the word "mom."

"Before the surgery, I only hoped my daughter would be able to take care of herself in spite of her hearing disability when she grows up. But now, with the cochlear implant, I hope she can learn to speak, find a job, and live a happy life," Xi Fang said.

The CCTF will visit more areas in the province to establish further medical aid programs for hearing-impaired children.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   >  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from