In November of 2004, a group of ENT surgeons, audiologists, and hospital management personnel, united with concerned citizens, to form SAHI (Society to Aid the Hearing Impaired). SAHI is an Indian NGO that aims at helping underprivileged children with impaired hearing.
India sees approximately 5-6% of the total population having hearing problems. About more than half of these individuals are hearing impaired from birth, or acquire hearing loss during early childhood. If left untreated in the first 3-5 years of life, these children end up remaining hearing and speech challenged throughout their lives. It’s a well-known fact that as children grow up and develop they learn about sounds with little effort. But it can be a daunting task for a child with hearing impairment to understand sounds and develop language & communication skills, which in turn affects his/her personal development and process of reasoning and education.
SAHI mainly seeks to identify and aid children living in rural areas, with little or no access to modern medical treatment. Since its establishment, SAHI has been addressing this problem by means of conducting camps in remote areas of the state. Children with learning disabilities or hearing loss are given hearing aids by SAHI at the camps and those with ear diseases are given free ear surgeries. Children with severe to profound hearing loss are helped by SAHI financially to undergo the Cochlear Implant surgery, which is a state-of-the-art surgery.
SAHI played a significant role in convincing the Honourable Chief Minister to include Cochlear Implant surgery for Children in the Rajiv Aarogyasri Community Health Insurance Scheme through which all poor families can avail the benefit of the surgery because of its prohibitive cost.