Indian expat couple hear call to prayer for the first time in UAE
Rubina Sadath and her husband Sadath Husain Kola, both in their 40s, cannot speak or hear.
The first sound an Indian couple heard for the first time in their lives was the Adhan.
Rubina Sadath and her husband Sadath Husain Kola, both in their 40s, cannot speak or hear, due to a congenital bilateral profound sensory neural hearing loss.
Both rely on lip reading and mostly written communication to interact with people. They communicate in sign language between themselves.
But, recently, they were fitted with hearing aids to address the condition and the very first sound they heard was that of the call to prayer.
"I am delighted and happy for my husband and me, as we can now hear clearly for the very first time. More importantly, we can hear our names being called by others and the surrounding sounds," said Rubina.
"This is the best gift that we could have asked for during this holy month of Ramadan, and we are able to hear the prayers being recited. This is something really new that we have never experienced before in our lives. We are extremely happy and we are looking forward to this new dimension that will help us lead a more fulfilling life," she said.
Both of them are self-taught accounting professionals and they have their regular day jobs.
Till a day earlier, they couldn't hear anything, no music, no sounds. And now, their lives have completely been transformed with the right set of hearing aids, which are as small as the regular earphone plugs. These were provided by Starkey Hearing Technologies free of cost, in support of the Year of Tolerance and with May being recognised globally as the month of hearing.
Rubina's brother and sister also suffer from the same challenge. She has a severe-to-profound sensory neural hearing loss, since birth. These types of hearing loss cannot be cured with medications or any kind of surgery, unless it is for implanting a hearing device, such as the cochlear implant.
Her family managed to provide some speech therapy when she was a little kid, and put her in a school where she could learn to read and write.
Hussain, on the other hand, has a bilateral profound hearing loss and he has the same type of condition as Rubina.
"We are really happy to bring about a change in the lives of Rubina and Hussain. When you suffer from hearing loss, it doesn't just affect your hearing, but your general health as well. The key challenge is that, today, people who are suffering from hearing issues don't get themselves diagnosed until it becomes a serious challenge," said Giscard Bechara, director of Starkey.
"We are aiming to educate people who are suffering from mild or partial hearing loss to visit an ENT specialist or an audiologist. It is important to diagnose the condition during the earlier stages. Life changes completely when you start to hear better," he said.
Close to 16 million people in the Middle East suffer from disabling hearing loss. This condition may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing.
"These hearing-related challenges are ranked third behind arthritis and hypertension for adults aged 75 and older. Hearing loss is one of the most common age-related disabilities today. Another upcoming challenge is that, 1.1 billion young people (aged between 12 and 35 years) are at a risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings. It is estimated that by 2050, over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss," said Giscard.
A total of 260 athletes from across 67 countries are able to hear clearly for the very first time in their lives, through the hearing aids provided by Starkey during the Special Olympics that was held in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
Some of these athletes had partial hearing loss, which was then completely rectified.
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