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Dubai hospital gifts power of hearing to one-year-old

Saman Haziq /Dubai
Filed on July 17, 2018 | Last updated on July 18, 2018 at 11.56 am
One-year-old Nayel was referred to Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital after he failed a hearing screening at birth.-Supplied photo
One-year-old Nayel was referred to Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital after he failed a hearing screening at birth.-Supplied photo

It is estimated that six out of 1,000 children will never hear the voice of their parents.

One-year-old Nayel was referred to Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital after he failed a hearing screening at birth. Despite being fitted with hearing aids, baby Nayel did not show any improvement in hearing or speech. Only a cochlear implant in his right ear would help but the average cost for a cochlear implant varies from Dh170,000 to Dh230,000. This is when Ana Asma'a, 'I Hear' in Arabic, Al Jalila Foundation's hearing programme, came to their rescue and little Nayel received the gift of hearing completely free of cost, under the Year of Zayed scheme by the foundation.

In the Middle East, hearing loss affects one in 25 people with the condition mostly affecting children from birth; other cases of hearing impairment are a result of infections, injury or even from excessive noise.

It is estimated that six out of 1,000 children will never hear the voice of their parents.

"Nayel was born in NMC Hospital, Dubai, and he was just three days old when we learnt that he had failed the hearing test. The doctors there then guided us to Al Jalila Foundation and I'd like to say that after God, it was the doctors and staff at the Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital that helped us through this," Aiman Mustafa, Nayel's mother, told Khaleej Times.

"I did not know how and where could we arrange funds to give my child his hearing back. Even if I'd sell off everything I own, I wouldn't have been able to gather the money for my baby's operation," she said.

Dr Mohamad Bitar, consultant otolaryngology head and neck surgeon at Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital, said: "After a comprehensive hearing assessment, Nayel was diagnosed with bilateral severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing impairment. In collaboration with Al Jalila Foundation, a decision was made to perform a cochlear implantation on his right ear, with a plan to have the implant on the left ear later on. Baby Nayel recently visited us to activate the device and it was exciting and fulfilling to watch him hear for the first time."

Aiman Mustafa said: "Nayel was completely silent before the operation, but now he has started doing some baby blabber and that is a great sign for us. The hospital is also offering free speech therapy for Nayel, which is also helping him. The doctors and staff at the hospital are like family to us as they have been seeing my son since he was 24 days old. We are lucky that his surgery took place when he was only 13 months, as the procedure is highly effective with young children as the early stages of brain development maximise the child's ability to develop speech, language and listening skills," said a grateful Aiman Mustafa.

"Our patients come from all walks of life, nationalities and backgrounds and have gone through traumatic experiences due to their medical conditions. Nothing makes us happier than to receive a phone call of overwhelming joy from the mother whose son has called her 'Mum' for the first time after a successful cochlear implant. These are the moments that make our job at Al Jalila Foundation so rewarding," said Ayesha Shahdad, head of A'awen treatment programme, Al Jalila Foundation.

What is Ana Asma'a?

Ana Asma'a, iHear in Arabic, is Al Jalila Foundation's hearing programme that gives children the gift of hearing. To date, 25 children between the ages of one and 13 years have already undergone bilateral and unilateral cochlear implants to restore their hearing sponsored by Al Jalila Foundation. Since the launch of the Ana Asma'a programme, the foundation has invested over Dh3 million to help many young lives.

The foundation invests 100 per cent of the donations it receives in healthcare programmes to benefit those in need.  

saman@khaleejtimes.com  

 

 


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