Parents of hearing impaired children demand post-implant care from gov’t

4 cochlear implants (1)
Parents and their children who received cochlear implants protest outside the King Hussein Medical Center on Tuesday. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Families of children with cochlear implants protested the lack of post-implant support for their children’s devices on Tuesday morning at the Mahmoud Pasha Krishan Roundabout, at the King Hussein Medical Center. They came with their children, who had the cochlear implants.اضافة اعلان

The implants were an initiative of Hearing Without Borders, Crown Prince Foundation, that support the rehabilitation of the hearing impaired and those suffering from hearing loss.

The parents appealed to officials at the Ministry of Health and the medical sector to continue the support provided by the Hearing Without Borders initiative post implant, and to search for solutions that would provide sustainability, support, and the rehabilitation their children need.

Jordan News reached out to the Ministry of Health, who is responsible for post-implant maintenance, but did not receive an answer.

The families demanded that cochlear devices be covered under a free health insurance system due to their high price and maintenance costs. They also demanded the inclusion of hearing impaired children in the educational system and provide them an appropriate educational environment. 

They also called for the provision of auditory and speech rehabilitation centers, in addition to granting children with cochlear implants a customs exemption similar to other persons with disabilities.

Other demands included providing them with a supply of batteries, chargers, and accessories, like wires for the implants that wear out and need to be replaced on average every three months. As such every implant recipient needs “no less than four wires a year”. 

The families also called for providing free maintenance for implants as well as spare parts, as implants are subject to damage or malfunction, as well as provide replacements during the maintenance period.

Among the slogans raised by the families and their children during the protest were: “I am a child with a cochlear implant, and I do not have batteries” and “I am a child with a cochlear implant, and I wish that I could speak.”
The families of these children appealed to His Majesty King Abdullah and HRH Crown Prince Hussein to stand with them.

Ahmed Al-Sawatfeh, a father with three children who underwent a cochlear implant operation, with one of the implants provided by the initiative, said: “If we, the parents, knew that we would suffer after implant operation for our children, we would not have done it. The costs are high and we cannot cover them.”

“Many parents had the devices removed from their children because they were unable to cover maintenance costs or purchase batteries, so their children went back to being deaf and speech-impaired,” Sawatfeh said.
“As parents, we are asking who is responsible for the future of our children, to whom do we turn?” he asked.

Sawatfeh said that there are about 3,000 children in Jordan who have cochlear implants and that the initiative is still ongoing, but the problem is post implantation, as the costs of maintenance and the purchase of wires ranges between JD220 and JD280 depending on the type.

As for the cochlear implant, each one costs JD5,000. Its operational life is five years, and it often needs maintenance. The cost of maintenance while within the warranty period is JD500, while it costs JD1,000 after the warranty expires.

Jude, a 12-year-old girl who has a cochlear implant, said: “I am afraid that one day I will lose my cochlear implant, and I worry about those who have not been able to get it, and I hope one day I will become a doctor to carry out a cochlear implant for everyone who needs it.” 

Jude’s mother on the other hand said: “This is a dream that will not happen, because they are not able to hear with a stethoscope.”

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