The National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna, has been designated as the first complete centre for cochlear implant surgery where persons with hearing loss can regain hearing speech and language in Nigeria.
An Ear Nose and Throat Nurse with the Centre, Haulat Yakubu, who was training colleagues from across the country on the development explained that the hearing aid device would be implanted permanently with the external rechargeable device in the patient’s ear third layer.
“We have two types of hearing loss: pre-lingual defiant (congenital – when a person never develops any speech right from birth) and post-lingual defiant which means the person who had developed speech and acquire language but loss the hearing at a point.
“So, the cochlear is for both children and adult because everyone has the right to hear”, she explained.
Shedding light on this, Development and Regional Manager, Med-el Medical Electronics, a producer of cochlear implant and hearing implant devices, Mohammed El Disouky explained that, his company has been in Nigeria for a while only that they were bringing their services closer to people in the North, using Kaduna as a base for now.
“We have been in Nigeria for some time but this is the first time in the North where we want to build infrastructure and education first followed by service, good selection of patients for this very special device.
“The cochlear implant is the only known device for restore hearing”, he said.
Speaking on the affordability of the service he said, “I think most people can afford it. If a family knew early that their son or daughter has a problem, they can come up with the money in a year or two.
“If there is early hearing loss detection, then you tell the family early enough because we have a window of five years for a child’s brain to be fully developed. We need to do the implant in the first three years if possible.
“So, if it is possible to detect in the first year that your child has hearing loss, then, the chances are that almost everyone around can come up with the money within the second or third year of the age of the child and it will be possible and then he or she will go to streamline schools hearing normally and speaking normally.
“This is a complete centre with surgeons, audiologists and speech therapists. The patient will come to one place and get all the services. This is a good one for Kaduna and Northern Nigeria”, Mohammed added.
But, an unofficial source disclosed that the device and surgery cost a patient about N6.2 million saying, it was the cheapest because the Centre had removed the middlemen in the process and deal directly with the company.
A Professor of Cochlear Implant, Alexandua, Egypt, Dr Ahmed Mchanne, said, he was in Kaduna to help with the surgery and share experience with local doctors who will pick up and continue with the service when he departs the country in a few months.