Cochlear Implant:Not Made in India

As of now, there are no indigenous CIs available in the market. A few years ago, under the aegis of Dr APJ Kalam, DRDO was tasked with the development of an Indian Cochlear Implant System, but there is no news about that. The Indian team from Armed Forces did visit Cochlear Limited, Australia for guidance in this matter. Dr Kalam's vision was to bring down the cost of the implant for the common man. However, experts still doubt the quality and acceptability of such an implant in the market. There are many advanced CI systems and all are available in India today. Mainly, there are four big companies manufacturing CIs, the largest of which is Cochlear Limited, Australia and followed by in no particular order, Advanced Bionics LLC, US; Medel, Austria and Neurelec, France.

At the moment, the electrodes in the CI device are assembled by people with their hands through a microscope which is one of the reasons why implants are expensive. On the other hand, improvement in the electronic technology, the cost of the ongoing research and training programmes conducted by the manufacturing companies adds up into the cost of the implant.

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