President Honours Cochlear recipient with National Award

President Honours Cochlear recipient with National Award

Ajay Kumar Kochiri

On International Day of Persons with Disability the Engineer from Hyderabad was honoured under the ‘National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities’ program

Hyderabad, Ajay Kumar Kochiri, a 30-year-old Hyderabad-based Senior Engineer working with BHEL, has been conferred with the ‘Best Employee of the Year, 2015’ award in the category of Hearing Impairment under the ‘National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities’ program. To honour his grit and determination to excel, this prestigious award was presented to him by the Honourable President, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee in Delhi this afternoon. Kochiri was fitted with bilateral Cochlear implants in April 2014 and since then has managed to overcome most of the challenges associated with his hearing disability.

Commenting on his hearing journey, Kochiri shared, “As my hearing gradually decreased during my college years, even the high power hearing aids were of no use. I struggled a lot while pursuing my M. Tech. at the IIT, Guwahati. As always, when I joined BHEL, my dream was to excel at my workplace as well. Hence, I decided to go for Cochlear implants. My hearing is almost as good as normal now and after a year with the implants, I have achieved my dream.”

Kochiri was first diagnosed with hearing loss when he was in school. He gradually kept losing his hearing further till he reached the stage of profound deafness in his 20s. After struggling with hearing aids for over a decade, Kochiri was implanted with bilateral (both ears) Cochlear implants in Hyderabad by senior ENT Surgeon and Cochlear Implant Specialist, Dr. Janardhan Jagini.

Upon being asked about Kochiri’s achievement, Dr. Jagini said, “One and half years after being fitted with the implants, Kochiri not only has got his hearing back, but he can now speak fluently too. The magic of a Cochlear implant is that it can practically turn a deaf person into a normally hearing person. Getting both the ears implanted (bilateral Cochlear implants) simultaneously was the best decision taken by him. This has helped him regain hearing and hence his long-lost confidence very quickly. I congratulate him on this great achievement and I am sure that his success story will inspire millions of young people in India, who suffer from hearing loss but want to join the general workforce, to opt for Cochlear implants.”

With his regained hearing, Kochiri is not only able to enjoy conversing with his 2.5 year-old son at home or with his colleagues at work, but he has also rekindled his childhood passion for jazz drumming. Upon receiving the award, he said, “I feel overwhelmed and thankful to all the people who helped me take the decision to get the Cochlear implants and to arrange funds for it. I highly appreciate the initiative taken by the Government of India to recognize the efforts of disabled persons to contribute as much towards the growth of the country as any other person can.”

The 2011 Census highlighted hearing loss as the second most common cause of disability in the country. 63 million people in India suffer from disabling hearing loss. Apart from functional and social impact, disabling hearing loss also has a significant economic impact on countries due to unemployability of the hearing impaired people.

The National Award won by Kochiri will encourage people with hearing disability to regain their hearing with the help of Cochlear implants and reach greater heights of success and inspire others to face the world head on.

About Cochlear Limited

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of 2,700 people and invests more than AUS$100 million a year in research and development. Products include hearing systems for cochlear, bone conduction and acoustic implants.

Over 400,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear.