Cochlear implants are proven options for the treatment of profound hearing loss. “Sruthi Tharangam” is a Kerala state government aided free cochlear implantation program for kids less than 3 years old, who are suffering from deafness.
Children with pre-lingual deafness do exceptionally well with cochlear implants and progress to acquire spoken language and produce intelligible speech.
But there are a few limiting factors for cochlear implant surgery like
- lack of awareness among parents, medical professionals and teachers about the need of early intervention of hearing loss and the benefits of cochlear implantation.
- the cost of surgery and implant making it non affordable to poor people.
Cochlear implantation is expensive and in addition to the cost of implant material there will be the expenses of surgery, post operative care, audiological mapping, trouble shooting and post implant habilitation.
In order to overcome these financial limitations, Government of Kerala has introduced the “Sruthi Tharangam” scheme under the Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM). The objective of the scheme is to provide financial assistance for cochlear implantation among children of 0-3 years, with hearing impairment.
Mode of assistance
- Government assistance fixed from time to time will be limited to supply of cochlear implant to children selected by technical committees.
- Financial assistance for auditory verbal habilitation of implanted children, through empaneled hospitals.
Which all expenses are not covered?
- The scheme will not meet expenses for preoperative assessment, preoperative investigation, and treatment charges including operation, drugs and investigation etc.
- Repair and replacement charges of implants and accessories after warranty period will be met by parents.
- Cost of consumable which are not covered by warranty also will have to be met by parents.
- Damage to physical or accident causes are not covered.
- Warranty, any repair and replacement charges due to physical and / or mechanical damage will have to be met by parents.
- Surgery cost won’t be covered under the scheme if parents select private institution for the implantation.
Who are the eligible candidates for free cochlear implantation?
- The child should be in the age group of 0-3 years. However, the Screening Committee would be empowered to make exceptions beyond 3 years up to 5 years of age on a case-to-case basis; where the committee feel that a high possibility of success exists or if there are other compelling technical reasons warranting for making an exception.
- The annual family income of the applicant should be below Rs. 2 Lakhs.
- The applicant / parent should be a permanent resident of Kerala.
- The child should be certified by a competent authority (under the scheme) regarding the need for cochlear implantation surgery. There should not be any medical contradictions to surgery and or implantation.
- The parents of the child should be prepared to undergo a mandatory training on speech therapy and post operative care.
- Parents or Guardian of the child should give an undertaking, in 100 rupees stamp paper, in the prescribed format.
Criteria of selection of children
- Bilateral profound sensory neural hearing loss in children in the age group of 12 months to 18 months.
- Bilateral severe to profound sensory neural hearing loss in children in the age group of 18 months and above. Preferably before 3 years.
- However, the Screening Committee would be empowered to make exceptions on a case-to-case basis; when the committee feel that a high possibility of success exists or if there are other compelling technical reasons warranting for making an exception.
- No or little benefit from strong power hearing aid after speech therapy for at least for 3 months.
- No associated cognitive impairment
- No medical or anatomical contraindication.
- Motivated parents to attend auditory verbal habilitation.
Surgery to children above 5 years on sponsorship
- To support children above five years, KSSM will provide cochlear implants for surgeries in empaneled hospitals if the cost of the implant is paid to Kerala Social Security Mission by a sponsor/ organization/ individual/ family. Cost of AVT and surgery charges also should be beared by either parents or sponsor. Sponsor and parents should submit an application in this regard in the prescribed format.
Approved list of doctors / centers empaneled for free cochlear implants.
In the government sector
- Govt. Medical College, Trivandrum
- Govt. Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode
- Govt. Medical College Hospital, Kottayam
In the private sector,
- KIMS Hospital, Trivandrum
- Medical Trust Hospital, Cochin
- MIMS Hospital, Kozhikode
- Santhwana Hospital, Trivandrum
- West Fort Hi-Tech Hospital, Thrissur
- ASCENT ENT Hospital, Perinthalmanna
- Dr. Manoj’s ENT Institute & Research Centre, Kozhikode
- Dr. Naushad ENT Clinic, Cochin
- National Institute of Speech and Hearing, Trivandrum
How to apply for Sruthi Tharangam scheme?
- Visit the official website of Kerala Social Security Mission at socialsecuritymission.gov.in
- On homepage, click at the “Application Forms” tab present in the main menu or directly click here.
- At the opened page, click at the “View” tab in front of “SRUTHI THARANGAM: Application for Spare & Accessories Cochlear Implant” link present in the list of schemes.
- Then the “Kerala Sruthitharagam Scheme Application Form PDF Download Page online” will open or alternatively the application can be downloaded using this direct link
- After downloading, applicants will have to enter necessary details accurately in the form and submit it to the concerned authorities.
- Contact Details – Executive Director, Kerala Social Security Mission, Poojappura, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695012, Phone No – 0471 2341200
For more details, visit the official website of Kerala Social Security Mission or the project website.