One look at our body and we can easily appreciate the symmetry in Nature’s creation. We have two eyes, two hands, two legs and two ears too. We also try to maintain this symmetry. If we suffer from cataract in both eyes, we don’t need a lot of convincing to tend to both eyes.
But Vahishtai Daboo found it difficult to convince her son, Jehan, to opt for a second cochlear implant.
The advantages of getting a cochlear implant in one ear are well known. Cochlear implants help children born with a hearing loss develop speech and thus open up doors to academic and professional success. Cochlear implants on both the ears help people have conversations in noisy conditions. They also help people distinguish where sounds come from.
In 2002, Jehan was implanted with a Cochlear Nucleus implant in the right ear at the age of 5.5 years at Hinduja Hospital. In school, Jehan was able to manage academics and badminton well with a single cochlear implant. But Vahishtai, an auditory-verbal therapist herself, knew the limitations of a single cochlear implant in college.
Jehan, as a self-aware teenager, needed to be convinced himself. He was not concerned about surgery. He wanted to understand the additional benefit of a second cochlear implant. Jehan personally spoke to many experts in the field of cochlear implants. He realized that coping with academics and social activities in college was indeed becoming more difficult. Colleges have bigger class sizes, more rigorous academic assignments and more group activities. With a single cochlear implant, Jehan was also facing issues trying to determine the direction of sound, (for example, including while trying to cross the road).
Jehan finally underwent surgery on his left ear in 2012. He is now more confident around others as he can follow group conversations better. He can hear his badminton coach give him instructions from a distance. Even his music perception has improved.
Jehan is now able to balance both sports and academic pursuits well. He is going from strength to strength in badminton. Recently, he won the bronze at World Deaf Youth Badminton Championship at Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also preparing himself to become a successful law professional.