Sweet Sound of Success
** Please be advised that photos maybe graphic, however show the suffering and success of Maitry’s journey. **
Meet Maitry, a young girl from Dang, Gujarat, India. From birth, Maitry exhibited signs of deafness. Her parents tried again and again to interact with her but received no response. Sensing something was wrong, they traveled a long way to the nearest hospital for evaluation. The tests showed that Maitry had peripheral hearing loss. As a result, she had not learned to speak. Without proper treatment, she likely would end up in an institution, unable to communicate with her peers. The recommended treatment was a Cochlear Implant. Maitry’s parents despaired; the cost of the surgery was far more than they could afford.
Maitry on her 1st birthday
The Cochlear Implant is a device designed for children who are born deaf. It can also be used for adults who suffer hearing loss from nerve damage. The device electronically stimulates the hearing nerve of the inner ear to allow people with severe to profound hearing loss, or nerve deafness, to perceive sound.
Once the Cochlear Implant is surgically placed and activated, the recipient starts detecting sound. After six months to two years of speech therapy and hearing training, the recipient’s hearing abilities increase to that of an average person. The earlier in life the device is implanted, the more quickly speech will be developed. The average cost of placing the Cochlear Implant and conducting follow-up treatment in India is 6-12 lakhs rupees ($10,000-20,000).
Maitry with her parents (center) on the morning of the surgery. Left: Dr. Vishwakarma, who performed the surgery. Right: Dr. Ashok Patel, Director of KJP Charitable Trust and sponsor of Maitry’s surgery.
In 2010, Dr. Ashok Patel, Director and Founder of KJP Charitable Trust, heard about Maitry’s handicap during a visit to Ahwa, Dang for a charitable project. He took personal interest and decided to sponsor Maitry’s surgery through KJP Charitable Trust. Dr. Vishwakarma, the head of Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Department at B.J. Medical College and Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, India, agreed to perform the surgery. On April 1, 2010 at B.J. Civil Hospital, the surgery took place. The procedure was successful and little Maitry handled it very well.
Update: Maitry has recovered from her Cochlear Implant surgery. Her progress is exemplary and she now responds to certain sounds. She is the first one to run to answer the telephone when it rings.
Maitry is now a normal, healthy girl. Not only is she able to communicate with her family and friends, but she regularly receives high marks in school.