KwaZulu-Natal’s public health sector’s ability to perform cochlear implants has been given a boost after five audiologists were trained in the procedure at the University of Pretoria.
A cochlear implant is a device used for hearing loss patients, which bypasses damaged portions of the ear and delivers sound signals directly to the auditory nerve.
In KwaZulu-Natal, only two patients have received cochlear implants from a public health facility so far. This is due to the high cost of the implants.
Rasheena Dooki , Chief Audiologist at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban is one of the five audiologists who underwent the training.
She further completed a cochlear implant software training programme in Austria.
Dooki, explaining how her training will benefit hearing loss patients, says, “Cochlear implants are being done in the private sector at the moment, but it has been an inaccessible form of rehabilitation for the public sector due to the cost of the implants. They are very costly. So, when patients are diagnosed with a hearing impairment, the most we can give to them are hearing aids and assistant devices and sign language, if the patients are not benefiting from hearing aids. Cochlear implants take it a step further in that it is such advanced technology. It’s giving opportunities to patients that would have never received this in the private sector due to costs,” says Dooki.