Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee Thursday reached out to India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir to discuss the importance of screening newborns for early detection of hearing loss.
The 42-year-old fast bowler, who is now Cochlear's Global Hearing Ambassador, was in the city's Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital (SMVDNSH) to raise awareness about hearing screening.
"Today hearing loss is a grave public health concern. Around 34 million children across the globe suffer some form of hearing loss and India has a big population of this. I want to help make sure, that anyone who is living in this world can experience the sounds of joy," Lee said.
Lee is actively involved in raising awareness about hearing screening for newborn babies, more so after his son suffered a temporary hearing loss some time ago.
"Parents and family members must not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss and should take seedy action if diagnosed. Over the past few years, I have personally witnessed how a Cochlear implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life-changing moment."
Lee said creating awareness for hearing impairment resonates with him.
"Over the past few years, I have personally witnessed how a Cochlear implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life-changing moment."
Lee has met hundreds of cochlear implant recipients across cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Pune, Chandigarh, Kochi, Guwahati, Amritsar and Jaipur and now in Jammu.
Nine children, who were born deaf in J&K, were given Cochlear implants.
"In less than a year, our hospital has successfully performed nine Cochlear implant surgeries and we are delighted when we see the progress of our young superstars. It gives us the motivation and drive to continue working to make our state free of hearing impairment," said Dr Man Mohan Harjai, Chief Administrative Oficer, SMVDNSH.
Lee also praised the state for early diagnosis of hearing disability and its effective treatment in India.
"I can't imagine cricket without sound - on the field not hearing the appeals and the crowd, off the field not hearing teammates, or at home not hearing family. I can't imagine it," he said.
"A cochlear implant can change all of that. I've seen it happen. The implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a wonderful, life-changing moment," he added.