A top surgeon has offered to restore former TV news anchor Louis Otieno's hearing right here in Kenya.
Mr Otieno, who lost his hearing under unclear circumstances, is seeking funds for delicate surgery in his inner ear and a cochlear implant so he can hear once again.
Macharia Muthure, a reputable Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, has offered to perform the surgery locally and save the former TV personality the trouble of travelling abroad for the procedure.
Prof Muthure however warned that the procedure would still be expensive locally.
“We haven’t done as many patients as we would have wanted, but that's mainly because of the cost barrier,” said Muthure, who has been doing cochlear implants for the past four years in the country.
Otieno has profound hearing loss in the right ear and severe hearing loss in the left. He has previously made three attempts to use different types of hearing aids but none worked, leaving only the option of the cochlear implant.
The specialist has already evaluated Otieno and explained the journey to regaining his hearing.
“A cochlear implant is a journey. The cochlear team - comprising the ENT surgeon, the audiologist and the speech therapist - will meet with him. All of us will assess him and prepare him for the next stage,” explained the specialist.
Otieno will also meet other beneficiaries of cochlear implants. The surgery will see him in hospital for about four days, followed by a four-week wait for a ‘switch on.’
“During switch-on, the external part of the implant is attached and the implant can now start working. You don’t start hearing immediately after the surgery,” said the surgeon.
After the ‘switch-on’, Otieno will be taught how to hear using the implant.
"This is a process that is like reminding him what speech sounds like so that he is able to converse once again. This entire process could take at least one year," he explained.
Otieno welcomed the news that he would not have to travel abroad for treatment.
“That he (Muthure) can do it, and do it locally, is a plus,” he said.