Why Do We Need Hearing Loss Awareness and Campaigns Like Project Shruti?
With an ever-increasing number of hearing loss cases in India and across the world it has been published by WHO that across the world there are nearly 1.5 billion people who live with some degree of hearing loss. Out of these at least 430 million people live with disabling hearing loss. These reports also state that this number is said to rise to 1.1 Billion people with disabling hearing loss and at least 2.5 billion with some degree of hearing loss, by 2030.
In India as per the report of WHO, there are nearly 6.5 crore people, who are suffering from Significant hearing impairment. As per the surveys and research conducted by NSSO, there are at least 291 individuals per one lakh people who are suffering from severe to profound hearing impairment. Out of these, a large section is of children between the ages of 0 to 14 years. It has also been found that with the rise in unsafe listening habits, even a greater section of the population suffers from mild to moderate hearing loss or unilateral hearing loss which is hearing loss in one ear. With such a large number of people suffering from hearing loss, it amounts to a great loss in physical and economical productivity.
What Is Project Shruti and How Did it Begin?
In the sight of these alarming numbers, the team WeHear in association with the Indian Red Cross Society and Friends of Aravalli launched ‘Project Shruti’, an initiative for people with hearing loss. The primary focus of this project is on the ear health safety and the enablement of individuals with hearing loss. Under Project Shruti, a team of Indian Red Cross Society volunteers conducted hearing tests across several schools, and old age homes. They also organized hearing test camps across several districts of Gujarat and provided the identified individuals with hearing loss with the WeHear Ear+ Hearing Devices.
Dr. Vishwas Amin, General Secretary of the Indian Red Cross Society shared his concern about the severity of the current statistics and an ever-increasing rise in the numbers related to hearing loss. He highlighted the fact that how due to the availability of 4G internet and covid 19 imposed lockdowns the audio consumption has increased by 2000%. He also stated that the biggest section of the population to be impacted by this spiraling rise in unhealthy audio consumption is children and young adults from the age of 14 to 35, which is also the most productive section of the population. With this, young people have been experiencing ear pain and hearing loss, which was earlier limited to the elderly, witnessing an increase of almost 40% in the last two years.
Project Shruti Phase 1 – Hearing Test Campaign Organised by IRCS and WeHear
Under phase 1 of Project Shruti, a total of 13 WeHear Ear+ devices were distributed to previously identified beneficiaries with hearing loss from the age of 16 to 79. Through project Shruti the WeHear team and the team of IRCS identified and experienced not only hearing loss as an issue but also several other problems that individuals with hearing loss face in their day-to-day activities.
The event was graciously attended by Shri. Sandip Sagale, IAS (District Magistrate and Collector, Ahmedabad) as the Chief Guest, along with Guests of Honour, Shri. Ashish Bhatia, IPS (DGP, Gujarat), Dr. Dilip Gadhavi (President, AMA), Dr. Neena Bhalodiya, Dr. Bharat Bhagat, Dr. Harshad Shah (Chairman, Red Cross), Shruti Chudgar (Vice-Chairperson, Red Cross), Dr. Vishwas Amin (General Secretary, Red Cross), and Kanishka Patel & Raj Shah (Co-Founders of WeHear Innovations Pvt. Ltd.).
Along with this project, the Indian Red Cross Society also initiated the ‘Sunega Bharat’ drive to enable thousands of individuals from different age groups with hearing loss, to listen and be integrated into the mainstream education, employment, and social groups.
Under this grand project, the team of WeHear plans to conduct hearing tests on more than 100 children and elderly people and provide them with WeHear Ear+ Hearing Aid Devices. WeHear truly appreciates the support of the Indian Red Cross Society and other local support groups in including people with hearing loss into mainstream society.
What makes WeHear Ear+ a unique hearing-aid device?
WeHear Ear+ is the world’s first non-surgical, open ear hearing aid device that works on bone conduction technology and delivers sound through the cochlea, bypassing physical ears. It is different from normal ‘hear by ear’ hearing solutions which cause conduction of sound in the ear by transmitting the amplified sounds through the air. The bone conduction hearing device is also different from air conduction hearing devices in a manner that bone conduction hearing aid devices do not use the ears for transmitting sound vibrations to the brain.
If a person has any issues in any part of the physical ear (eardrums, ear-canal, ossicles), he/ she can hear like a normal person with this technology. WeHear Ear+ hearing device works on Dual-Bluetooth pair hearing aid technology, through which it can be connected to any other device along with being connected to the WeHear OX device. It can be used by people with moderate to severe conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss due to accidental damages, and also by hard-of-hearing people. Although the WeHear Ear+ device can also be used in the cases of mild sensorineural hearing loss, it cannot be used in cases of auditory nerve damage.
What WeHear Aims to Do?
The aim of WeHear is to eventually help 4 crore+ people nationwide with hearing issues and conductive hearing loss. The team of WeHear and several local support groups together carry out the audio test for ears across Ahmedabad and other districts of Gujarat. Moreover, the unique innovation of WeHear ear+ aligns perfectly with the objectives of the National Program For The Prevention & Control Of Deafness launched under the National Health Mission.
WeHear also aims to become a pioneer of the hearing care community, by providing the best ‘Make in India’ bone conduction hearing solutions. So far WeHear has received several recognitions and accolades on reputable platforms that include recognitions from the President of India, our military, and other government officials.
Event Details Date:
September 30, 2021 (Thursday)
Time: 5:15 pm
Venue: Red Cross Auditorium, Vadaj Crossroad, Vadaj, Ahmedabad
Link 1: https://www.who.int/health-topics/hearing-loss#tab=tab_1
Link 2: https://www.indianredcross.org/ircs/index.php
Link 3: https://nhm.gov.in/index1.php?lang=1&level=2&sublinkid=1051&lid=606