January 22, 2021

Alpa Bhawani – A story of win over hurdles of raising a hearing impaired child

Alpa Bhawani is a mum from Panvel, Mumbai, who is brave enough to acknowledge the odds in life and face them with a vengeance to resolve them. She doesn’t believe in stopping mid-way but to bring out her best in facing hardships and leading herself to a positive solution.
Alpa shares with Mums and stories her journey when she found out her child had hearing difficulty and how life is enabling her to cope with the times.

“Adhit is completely mummy’s boy and I am also truly this baby’s mother. He is my first and only son, now aged seven years. When he was around 8 month old, we found he wasn’t responding to any local voices. This is when we realized that our baby is unable to hear. As he was growing up we realized that lip reading or any other hearing aid didn’t help him as he had profound hearing loss on both ears. It was tough at time on us to take any decision.

However when he wasn’t even a year old the doctor suggested for surgery. Initially no one supported. Even though knowing the technology I felt helplessness for my son that I am not able to do anything for him. As we live in a joint family, I had lots of advises.

Some said Ayurvedic, and some said homeopathic. Some people suggested keeping fast for him and I did and blindly believed in everything. At times, I prayed to my God saying “Please take five years of my life from today and in return, I want my baby to hear his own laughter”. Further, I also took a pledge of not to eat any rice substitute and many such beliefs. I knew it won’t help me. But I believed I would win one day.

Money was never a problem; all that mattered was to accept the technology which was tough to make people at home realize that it can do wonders. We all had wrong conception about the surgery that it might damage his brain and after spending a whopping amount of 10lakhs what if it is not successful. And also, we couldn’t imagine a baby going through a complex surgery.

After struggling for 8 to 9 months, when Aadith turned 18 months, I was finally able to convince my husband for Aadith’s surgery and just before he turned 2 year old, he was operated on his right ear and was able to hear.

It was as if he was reborn. The first two years of his life went mute for him. After starting up his auditory verbal therapy, he started babbling after 4-5months of his surgery. And he continued learning within a year he was able to develop his speech. In the year 2014, he underwent through his second surgery on his left ear. Four years of therapy and he was able to talk fluently and now he is bilaterally implanted on both ears.

Cochlear implant should be done as earlier as possible for better speech development and that he could cope up with his age group kids.

He is going in a mainstream school (i.e. normal school) and able to do all those things which a normal kid can do of his age on his own.

Although, we visited few schools which were not keen and didn’t want him to study in their school since he wore equipment and school people boycotted by taking any kind of responsibility.

At present he is studying in class one and doing well. We never had any complaints from his teacher about his hearing. He is able to do all those extracurricular activities flawlessly too.”

Alpa was an editor and managed her own magazine Roshini and was successfully able to complete five years but currently she is a stay-at-home mum due to personal reasons and commitments. She has written various articles on cochlear implant and loves to pen down recipes on food, write poetry among a few other hobbies. She continues to be an independent writer.

Alpa says, “A big and loud advice to all parents; Don’t wait too long and go for cochlear implant without wasting your time and give a joy of hearing to your child at the earliest convenience. years ago I didn’t knew whether he would even be able to speak a word or so but today he is able to talk in 5 languages viz. Gujarati, English, Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit.

We have named the sound processor that he uses as ‘Om’. Aadi, loves his ‘om’ and takes care of it. He is aware that he cannot go careless with it and knows too that he shouldn’t go into metal detectors wearing it or in the rains.

Thankfully he is now behaving like a normal child. And the hearing instrument is always helping him in situations like crossing roads or plying on grounds or walking through crowded market. He has dozens of friends now and in fact he is become so talkative that I need to ask him to be quite for a while.

One of the best things that has happened and that I can recollect Adhit gave a speech on ‘Meri Maa’ and I became speechless. That was the moment I felt proud to be his mother!!!
Life after cochlear implant surgery is much prettier and easier for all of us.”

Mums and stories is happy to share this lovely story from a truly inspiring mum and child.

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