The Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science and Technology Laboratory, under the Indian defence research establishment has developed an affordable Cochlear Implant for hearing impaired.
The aid, is an electronic device to be surgically implanted to provide a sense of sound to hearing impaired person or person hard of hearing due to loss of sensory hair cells in his/her cochlea.
Nearly one million persons need Cochlear Implants in India and about 9-10 thousand children are born every year with hearing impairment. While imported Cochlear Implant is unaffordable to average Indians, priced at Rs. 7-10 lakh rupees, the one being developed by the defence lab will cost just one lakh rupees.
Currently, the device is undergoing final laboratory evaluation and clinical trials will start in a few months, said Dr. V. Bhujanga Rao, Chief Controller R&D of DRDO. Dr. Rao was speaking at a workshop on ‘Transcanal Technique for Cochlear Implants”. Inaugurating the workshop, former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam said, India now joins a select few in developing this technology.