57 children enter the World of Sound! – Graduation class of 2018

Big Ears celebrates completion of 435 cochlear implant surgeries in 12 years

Theatre personality Vikram Gokhale present at the occasion as Chief Guest

Pune, Friday, March 9, 2018: From silence to sound, from disability to normalcy, from dependency to confidence—friends, family and well wishers were present for the graduating class of 2018- stepping out into the world on their own.

After years of rehabilitation, therapy and training, these implanted children will finally lead normal lives. Many were present and celebrated the joyous noise with Big Ears, the clinic that demonstrates how hearing-impaired children learn to listen, talk and create a better future for themselves.

Big Ears was the first Cochlear Implant centre in Pune offering all services related to Cochlear implantation under one roof.

The graduating children received their implants in 2012 and 2013. The Big Ears team of surgeons, audiologists, speech and language therapists and counsellors, work alongside the parents and families of the mostly underprivileged children to give a new ‘sur’ to their lives. The clinic also celebrates the completion of 435 cochlear implant surgeries performed by Big Ears in 12 years.

This year, the Graduating Class of 2018, the clinic has helped 57 students step into the world of sound.The children received their Graduation certificates at the hands of Actor Vikram Gokhale today in the presence of parents and well-wishers. This Graduation Ceremony was very different where 57 children who could not hear have stepped into the “World of Sound” and was a very emotional moment for all present. Present at the occasion was also Dr. Neelam Vaid, Implanting Surgeon who has played a major role in the above.

It was only appropriate that they acknowledge and applaud the parents who dreamt and believed that their children are no less than others and left no stone unturned to try and give them a shining future. The team at BIG EARS is committed to fulfilling the dreams and beliefs of these parents. The team ensures that the family receives appropriate advice and care, often facilitating financial grants as well since 98 percent of their patients are from families that cannot afford this expensive technology. Over the past 12 years they have helped many children and their families get financial aid and acquire this technology.

In order to show their gratitude for the support, understanding and time given to them, the children of Big Ears put up a special dance performance and won over the hearts of everyone present. A shorter version of the documentary film, ‘Awaaz Aala (I can hear)’ on the inspirational journeys of four implanted children, directed by Minnie Vaid, was screened at the event.

About Dr. Neelam Vaid
Dr Neelam Vaid is an Associate Professor at the Dept of E.N.T., K.E.M. Hospital, Pune. She is also the Head of BIG EARS, a clinic which focuses on early detection and intervention in Patients with hearing impairment.

She obtained her Master in Surgery (ENT) from the University of Poona in 1990. Her interests are mainly in Otology and Endoscopic sinus surgery. She has been involved with Cochlear Implants since 1999 and started a specialized Cochlear Implant clinic at BIG EARS in 2006.

She also introduced universal neonatal hearing screening for the first time in Maharashtra in 2005.
She is involved with Genetic analysis of non-syndromic hearing loss in the Indian sub-population.
She has numerous national and international publications to her credit.

About Mr Vikram Gokhale

Vikram Gokhale is a well-known Indian film, television and stage actor, notable for his roles in Marathi theatre and Hindi films and television. He is the son of another well-known veteran Marathi theater and film actor, Chandrakant Gokhale.
Gokhale directed his directorial debut in 2010, with Marathi film Aaghaat. Produced by Sprint Arts Creation and executive producer Rajesh Damble, the film is based on a story written by Dr Nitin Lavangare. The cast of the film includes actors Mukta Barve and Dr. Amol Kolhe and is shot in Pune

Photo Caption:

1) 2018 Graduating batch of Big Ears along with actor Vikram Gokhlae and Dr. Neelam Vaid. Also seen in the image are other Big Ears team members

2) One of the students receiving the graduation certificate at the hands of chief guest- Actor Vikram Gokhale and Dr. Neelam Vaid

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