Chandrakant Vishwakarma helping the world hear better!
We are back with our wall of fame series, this time our guest being a pioneer in the field of cochlear implant rehabilitation. We take immense pleasure in featuring Dr. Chandrakant Vishwakarma, in a candid tete-e-tete!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi friends, I’m Dr.Chandrakant Vishwakarma, PhD & Master’s Degree in Audiology, running a center SHABDA-BRAHMA Speech-Hearing Clinic & Cochlear Implant Rehab. Centre, Ahmedabad since 2009. I am also a Consultant with Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad; Honorary Audiologist to Govt. Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad for its Cochlear Implant Programme. My primary area of interest is Cochlear Implants.
What are your perceptions on hearing impairment as a condition?
“Hearing is birth right of every individual”, it helps you to connect with the environment, people around you and far too.
What are the various interventions available for the hearing handicapped?
Depending on degree and type of handicap there are different interventions available. You have Hearing Aids for moderate to severe hearing loss and it’s sometimes effective in profound losses as well. We also have CROS/Bone Bridge/BAHA for Unilateral Hearing Loss, Bone Conduction devices can also be advocated in conductive hearing losses. For those who are not getting adequate benefit with hearing aids, they are recommended for Cochlear Implant or EAS Cochlear Implant provided the auditory nerve (AN) is intact and cochlea is present. If there is an absence of the auditory nerve or presence of a cochlear Aplasia, then Auditory Brainstem Implant is the recommended option.
Can you elaborate on cochlear implantation and its effectiveness?
Cochlear Implant is proven technology in terms of providing/restoring hearing. The effectiveness of it depends on many factors such as age of implantation, use of appropriate hearing aids and previous therapy if attended, no compromised/ malformed cochlea ,socioeconomic status of family, family education and support , any other handicap existing, behavior of child, ongoing speech -language therapy/auditory verbal therapy , support at school/ work environment and many more.
Please describe your journey with SHADBA-BRAHMA?
It has been a wonderful journey! I came back from Australia in 2009 with the idea of setting up a Speech & Hearing Clinic with state of the art facility and support, especially dedicated to Cochlear Implantees. I started alone initially, until I found a rock solid support in my better half (Dr. Rupali Mathur- HOD Speech-Language Pathology) who joined my venture and expanded the centre in the area of speech & language pathology.
Rupali also took a special interest in research activities and presented and published many papers at various levels. Later almost five special educators joined our team. Mrs. Leena R. Vishwakarma (Head of Special Education) took role of keeping special educators updated and educated which was well supported by Rupali as well.
In total now we have six special educators, one speech language pathologist and two audiologist working under one roof. Looking back at the 10 years which have flown by, deep down I feel happy and proud that our center has catered services to the needy, not only in the Ahmedabad regions, but also across the entire regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. We also have clients from UP, Bihar, Orissa, Haryana, Karnataka and Maharashtra. We get clients from abroad as well, have extended our services to clients from Afghanistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Dubai, Mozambique, Nigeria, USA, Australia and UK.
Initially when I came back, it was moment of confusion whether I should go back or settle in Ahmedabad, as I had to start from scratch. I went to many hospitals and ENT doctors, saw their OPDs and off course the test results and rehabilitation some them undergoing. At times this was disheartening to see wrong reports and involvement of non-professionals, which is prevalent now also.
There were few proper speech & hearing centers, we joined the league and started. Then the uphill task was to convince doctors to send and see the difference in testing, which I think we managed well and our doctors are I would say 99 % happy and satisfied by our services. I learnt to say “NO” to doctors and clients if I felt something is not right, whether it is testing or providing services which is required and demand is opposite. In terms of center we have not opened any of branches yet due to shortage of man-power and quality assurance.
Can you elaborate on the functioning and activities at the clinic?
We are complete Speech & Hearing Clinic. We do awareness activities (talk with group, advertisements through articles, posts on Facebook, WhatsApp, camps), identification of problem through New Born hearing screening at various NICU across the city, assessment through Hearing Tests at the clinic (PTA/Impedance/ OAE/BERA/ASSR), assessment for Speech and Language difficulties and Therapy.
Our Centre is the first (for providing services to different brand CI and other Implantable devices) and biggest (more than 1000 clients database) center in Gujarat for Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation. SHADBA-BRAHMA is one of the referral centers for Government run school health programme. We are also tied up with Smile Train Programme which Dr. Rupali looks after. SHABDA-BRAHMA, believes in teaching and making each and everyone learn through reading, learning, participating in workshops / conferences, and practice. That’s where we involve our team.
Can you share a few inspirational experiences while working with parents of children and individuals with hearing impairment?
Well it’s difficult as every other client has a story to say about their struggle to the success. To quote few I would like to congratulate and say the parents of all the kids are doing commendable job by bringing their kids to Centre for therapy activity. The work doesn’t stop here, they also make sure that the activity done at center is practiced well and further additional activities taken up at home for child to be confident and learn the task. Some of them really take this challenge very well despite having many odd’s in their own life.
One such child is Ms. Dhyana Rana (permission taken) who is brought to our Centre by her mother sincerely. Her mother is physically handicapped. Here I can only say that one particular type of handicap is not preventing her from bringing her child to get over her child’s handicap ( deafness), so that she can be independent in her life. It was all by chance where my staff coming to Centre and Dhyana’s mother driving her to Centre were on the same road and my staff could record the video of same.
Dhyana comes from low socioeconomic status, father is unemployed, mother does part time job at a Shop to meet the ends of her family and still takes time out for her child’s therapy.
Such parents are our motivation to do and strive for the better!
Hats off to the sheer dedication and determination portrayed by Dr. Chandrakant Vishwakarma , in creating waves of wonder in the lives of individuals with hearing and speech-language difficulties, through SHABDA-BRAHMA! We, at 1SpecialPlace wish him all the very best in his future endeavors!
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