Media - Sonova News Room
Focus on follow-up care
Finally being able to hear is a dream that is coming true for more and more people in the growth market of India, with the Sonova brand Advanced Bionics represented in more than two-thirds of private clinics nationwide. Doctors have been particularly impressed by the personalized service and the comprehensive follow-up care on offer.
“Nice to see you,” says Dr. Shankar Medikeri to Deekshit and shakes hands with the five-year-old. The boy and his mother have traveled to the doctor’s ENT clinic in Bangalore and Deekshit has taken off his shoes, just like all the other patients. Medikeri is the surgeon who checks the settings of the sound processor in Deekshit’s cochlear implant once a year. It sounds like the doctor is having a spontaneous conversation with his young patient, but this short chat is also a test. Medikeri seems happy with Deekshit’s language development: “He understands well and speaks clearly.”
This renowned surgeon has been one of Advanced Bionics’ partners in India for many years and he has placed a good number of the brand’s implants. He conducts live-streamed operations at universities and trains colleagues in implant surgery. Medikeri admires Advanced Bionics’ technology, its personalized service and its human approach. “The decision to go for a cochlear implant is something that will stay with a patient for the rest of their life,” says Medikeri. “So everything has to be right.”
Luckily, more and more parents are realizing how important speech therapy is. Many of them live hundreds of miles away – but they still come.
Rashmi Deshpane, head audiologist and speech therapist at Shankar Medikeri’s ENT clinic in Bangalore
For Medikeri, it is important to offer the patients in his clinic the key stages in the process, from diagnosis through the operation to speech therapy, all under one roof. Head audiologist Rashmi Deshpane is in no doubt about this approach. “It means we can be with families every step of the way from the very outset, and we can help parents understand the importance of speech therapy – not to mention support at home – in achieving the very best results.”
It came as a shock to Deekshit’s parents when the diagnosis was announced shortly after their son’s birth: their son was unable to hear. “He didn’t react to acoustic stimuli,” recalls Prabha Reddy, his mother. “I didn’t know what to do – and I’m so glad we decided to go through with the operation.” Deekshit’s family managed to pay for the operation in time for the boy to receive his implant at the age of two, when he was still in the key speech development phase.
“That was a stroke of luck,” says Shankar Medikeri, who operated on Deekshit at the time. “Children in India often get their cochlear implants too late because the money is just not there.” If a family doesn’t have enough funds for two implants, Medikeri still advises them to opt for one operation as soon as possible, “so that no major developmental steps are missed.” Previously, only 1% of potential recipients of cochlear implants in India had been supplied with devices, but the number of operations is steadily growing.
We are in constant contact with the clinics. The doctors appreciate our personalized service.
Abishek Singh, Head Sales and Marketing, Advanced Bionics India
Advanced Bionics is represented in the majority of the private clinics in the country. “Personal contact with doctors and patients is really important to us,” explains Vinod Nadig, Director of Advanced Bionics India. “We also put a lot of emphasis on follow-up care.” Advanced Bionics conducts vocational training workshops for doctors and audiologists, and patients and their families also receive an introductory session on how to look after and clean the sound processor. State support for cochlear implant use is still not available in every area of the country; regional authorities have the last word. “Indian children will often get their implant very late,” notes Nadig regretfully.
Two-thirds of Advanced Bionics’s staff in India are on the road at any time and they are in constant – and direct –contact with the clinics. Take Abishek Singh, for example: this cheerful Advanced Bionics employee looks after more than two dozen clinics and several rehabilitation centers. “The doctors appreciate the personalized service we offer them,” explains Singh. He is particularly concerned that children are fitted with devices as early as possible: “We have an ongoing dialogue with pediatricians.”
Deekshit was lucky, receiving his cochlear implant at the age of two. That the boy can speak so well is down to his mother’s dedication; she has grown used to giving a running commentary on whatever she is doing. “I’m putting the blue brick on top of the green one,” she announces as they play. “Now, I’m making some rice,” she says as she is cooking.
Then she asks the five-year-old, “Shall we clean the implant together?” Deekshit nods; it is a weekly ritual between son and mother. The boy takes off the sound processor of his cochlear implant and watches attentively as his mother dabs the fragile components clean with a soft cloth.
“I’m so glad that Deekshit has a cochlear implant,” says Reddy, hugging her son tightly. In the evenings, she takes the five-year-old’s sound processor off once he has fallen asleep and replaces it in the mornings while he is still in bed. She then goes into the kitchen, makes breakfast and calls: “Deekshit, time to get up!” Deekshit hears her and runs into the kitchen. “That’s exactly what I want for my son,” adds his mother – “a perfectly normal life!”