Reduce noise, please; ex-cricketer Brett Lee airs concern for hearing loss

Brett Lee (far right), global brand ambassador of cochlear implant, with a 2-day-old baby which had just undergone a hearing test. He was in Jubilee Mission Medical College to take part in an awareness programme on hearing loss. Hospital Director Fr. Francis Pallikkunnathu (2R) and Dr. VC Manoj (far left) look on.

Australian cricketer Brett Lee, who was once a nightmare for batsmen with his fast deliveries, is on a new mission. He is the global brand ambassador of cochlear implant and tours the world spreading awareness on ways to prevent hearing loss.

During a recent visit to Kerala, Lee called for setting priorities regarding childcare in the country. “At least 90 % of the kids in India are gifted a cricket bat, but how many infants are subjected to a hearing test?” he asked.

Speaking to media persons in Thrissur, Lee explained how he became interested in cochlear implants. “My son was injured in an accident when he was just five years of age and lost his hearing. It was a terrible time for us but advanced treatment helped him recover. After that incident, I learnt about cochlear implants,” said the former Australian fast bowler.

Lee stressed the importance of early detection in preventing hearing loss in infants and said that the earlier the problem was detected, the better. “Newborns who lack the sense of hearing get a second chance in life if their problem is detected within six months of birth,” pointed out Lee.

All hospitals in Australia have facilities to conduct the test and India too should have it, he advised. Referring to the situation in India, Lee said that each newborn has the right to grow up enjoying the world of sounds.

There is a common belief that music can help overcome hearing disabilities. However, this is a myth, said Lee. “Music therapy is beneficial during the treatment of various diseases, but not hearing loss,” affirmed the global ambassador.

Lee also was concerned about the sound levels one has to experience in India. “Horns, drums and big speakers emit high volume sounds here. The public places are so noisy. People can hear even if you speak softly. What is the need to create so much noise” he asked.

His advice is to “Reduce sound levels; increase hearing.”

The Australian legend is a frequent visitor to Kerala as part of his activities in the role of cochlear implant brand ambassador. He explained why. “The state is a topper in India regarding health indices. People in other parts of India too share this opinion. Moreover, parents in Kerala are educated and informed. They should now ensure that their newborns undergo the hearing test,” said Lee.