Hearing loss a global public health issue: Brett Lee

Bengaluru, April 11 (IANS) Parents and family members should not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss in children and should take speedy action, former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee said here on Monday.

Lee was here for his ‘Sounds of Cricket’ hearing loss awareness campaign.

“Through the ‘Sounds of Cricket’ campaign, I am keen to spread the message about how Cochlear implants help individuals with hearing loss lead a normal life. Hearing loss is a huge global public issue,” he said.

As the global hearing ambassador for Australian implantable hearing solutions company Cochlear, Lee aims to highlight the functional, social, emotional and economic impact of hearing loss on people and their families.

Asked what drew him to the campaign, Lee said his son suffered from hearing loss which made him play an active role and reach out to around 360 million in the world suffering from varying degrees of hearing loss.

“My son suffered hearing loss due to a head injury. He was lucky to regain it naturally but in most cases it does not happen that way,” he said.

In India, the ‘Sounds of Cricket’ campaign was first unveiled in Mumbai in October 2015.

Shankar B. Medikeri, ENT doctor and president of the Cochlear Implant Group of India, said: “There is definitely an urgent need for universal newborn screening in India. Universal newborn hearing screening can identify hearing loss in babies at brith.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 60 percent of hearing loss in children under 15 years of age is preventable, while five out of every 1,000 infants suffer from disabling hearing loss in early childhood.

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