Free surgery, rehabilitation open world of sound for deaf children

By HU DONGMEI in Yinchuan and WANG XIAOYU | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-02 09:32
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Doctors play with disabled children at the Ningxia Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, in April. [Photo by Li Jing/for]

Two years ago, Wang Muchen could not hear the loud cracks and bangs made by fireworks. Now at 3 years old, he is learning to recognize the sound of water flowing from the tap.

"When I heard from the doctor that my son was born with severe hearing loss, I was desperate and thought the world had closed a door for him," said his mother Chen Siwang.

The most ideal treatment for Wang was to undergo a surgery for a cochlear implant that converts sounds into electrical pulses that are sent to the auditory nerve. The procedure would cost about 200,000 yuan ($29,500).

"His father is the sole breadwinner of the family, with a monthly income of 3,000 yuan. We were planning to sell the house in the countryside to collect funds for the implant," she said.

"Luckily, we were recommended to apply for the free relief program for children with disabilities in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region."

She was referring to a trial project that was initiated in Ningxia in 2018. The initiative involves a package of free rehabilitation and care for young children with disabilities and their families.

Through the Ningxia Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, Wang was successfully enrolled in the program and received the implant in June 2020 for free.

Two months after being fitted with a cochlear implant, Wang said "Mama" for the first time. He is now able to speak simple sentences and sing melodies.

For Chen, the most surprising change following the implant was that her son has become more outgoing.

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