Hearing Impairments – Prevention & Cure
by Dr. N Raja Sekharam, Consultant ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon along with Dr. B Susmitha, Consultant ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon, Aster Prime Hospital, Ameerpet,Hyderabad
God has gifted ears on both sides for hearing due to which people could able to hear even if one is suffering with issue or spoiled. They tend to implement or find their own solutions to the problems faced in hearing thus increasing the level of problems by ignoring the advice to meet an expert doctor.
According an estimate around 1.5 billion people are suffering with some sort of hearing impairment.
In a study conducted by WHO it is estimated that around 2.5 billion people will suffer with hearing impairments by 2050.
Due to heavy industrialisation, usage high powerful machinery has increased. Further due to working closely with these machinery such as drilling, boring, mining and also due to lack of public transport
that leads to increase in number of private vehicles thus leading to noise pollution also showing their impact on our hearing capabilities. The modern trends such as Music Shows, Rock Concerts and Pub Culture that uses heavy sound equipments are also creating issues with listening system.
Latest addition to these problems is increased use of Mobile phones during Corona lock down by children to elders due to various reasons such as online classes, work from home etc, has lead to serious hearing issues.
Due to this increasing noise pollution it is expected that more than one billion youth are expected to suffer with some sort of hearing impairments. Here is a brief attempt to make you understand about these hearing impairment issues, why they are formed, how can we prevent them, what kind of precautions one need to undertake and what is the treatment available if one acquires, unfortunately.
Construction of Ear
Firstly we will try to understand Human ear and its construction along with its working style. Human ear will contain three major parts. They are…
Middle Portion of Ear
Inner Portion of Ear
The external portion of ear is connected with middle portion of ear with a small layer of ear skin. In the middle portion of ear, we can find three different bones. They are known as malleus, incus and stapes. Stapes is known as smallest bone in our human body and it stays exactly in the middle of the ear. The external ear grasps the sounds and transfers them to ear drum. These sounds then passes through the ear bones present inside the ear and will touch the nervous system that connects with brain thus enabling them transfer the sound to brain for further processing. Brain after processing these sounds will enable us to clearly understand and distinguish the sounds.
When a human faces an issue in the ear, the expert doctor will conduct requisite tests and identify the exact problem and location thus providing proper treatment. This will eliminate the most of the issues, if treated well in time.
Reasons, Prevention and Treatment for Hearing Impairment Let us understand the causes behind hearing impairments, its prevention and treatment options available. The hearing impairments among humans can be divided into three categories. They are Conductive, Neural and Mixed Deafness.
Conductive Hearing Impairments
Due to certain genetic reasons, if the formation of external ear is not properly done then that leads to reduction in hearing capacity. If this problem can be recognised among children at early stage it can rectified with proper treatment.
Among few, the ear wax gets formed regularly. Normally people tend to clear the same by
using various instruments such as pins, sticks etc thus leading to damage to thin layer of ear
skin. This will further leads to heavy pain, formation of puss thus getting infection in ear. It is
advised to not to use them and if problem increases take a proper treatment from expert doctor.
Due to cold, cough some people tend to not to use proper medication thus leading infection in the ear and formation of puss. This will sometimes create a whole in thin skin layer of the ear and also can damage the sensitive bones thus leading to some issues with hearing.
Due to Cholesteatoma disease, the bone can get damaged and also increases the chance of
leading the infection to brain. This can be resolved by performing a surgery.
Otosclerosis is a disease that effects stapes bone in the ear and reduces the hearing capacity of individual. This can be treated with medicine during early stages and if veracity is found to be
increased then can be rectified with a surgical procedure known as stapedotomy.
Due to some injuries to ear accidently can also lead to damage of ear skin layers and can lead to issues. It is advised to meet the doctor immediately to reduce the impact.
Tumours especially Glomus Tumours can create disturbance in ear, reduces the capacity of
hearing and also can lead to paralysis in face.
Neural related hearing impairments The neural related hearing impairments can be divided into two different categories. They are genetic
means those coming due to defects at birth and those being acquired during the course of life.
Hearing Impairments due to Genetic/Due to Birth Defects
Most of the hearing impairments acquired at the time of birth is mainly to improper formation
of human ear structure. Further TORCH infection acquired while staying in the mother’s
womb by the baby can also lead to improper formation of hearing nerve system. These two
reasons can lead to some sort of hearing problem and sometimes to total deafness.
Children born with some genetic issues due to marriages among close relatives, those born well before completion of nine months, those children forced to stay in ICU after birth for longer periods, those born with Jaundice are prone to suffer with issues concerning with
hearing problem due to damage to ear structure, ear nervous system etc.
In all the above situations, the parents have to observe the children’s condition closely. They have to monitor that children between three to six months of age are reacting to the sounds by moving their
heads and trying to identify the direction of sound etc. If parents observe any problem they have consult an expert ENT doctor immediately to get the proper diagnosis and treatment. The treatment
may include implantation of hearing devises to ear, Cochlear Implantation surgery etc. Timely action in this direction can reduce the chances of them becoming dumb and can lead a normal life.
Hearing Impairments acquired during the course of life
Due to viral fevers such as Encephalitis, TB, Cerebral Malaria will impact sensitive hearing
Working in heavy noise conditions also impact sensitive hearing nerves and usage of Ear Plugs can reduce this impact.
If the volume in mobile phone goes beyond 60% can also show impact on hearing system.
Currently due to online classes and work from home most of the people are using head phone for longer periods. They are advised to take breaks every one hour for ten minutes. During
this period it is advised to instruct the children not to use mobile for games and listening music etc.
Usage of certain medicines such as Aspirin, Streptomycin, Anti Malaria Drugs, Drugs used in
cancer treatment may show some effect on human’s nervous system. If any issue is identified, it is advised to consult the doctors to either stopping the usage of medicine or to reduce the dosage or provide alter medicine thus reducing the chance of hearing impairments.
By identifying the diseases that impact our immune system and if treated well can also reduces the chances of hearing impairment.
Due to Presbyacusis the ear nerves can become weak thus leading to some issues with hearing.
It is also advised those suffering with HTN, DM and Thyroid diseases to use their medication as prescribed thus reducing the chances of getting their hearing impacted.
Another major issue that can lead to hearing impairment is sudden weakness among nervous system.
Hearing Impairments is an issue that most humans tend to neglect. Due to various misconceptions and beliefs they ignore it by thinking that due filling of wax it is happening and can become normal once it is removed. They tend to use the pins, sticks to clean the same without meeting the doctor. By the time the damage occurs. Instead of taking your own measures, it is advised to listen the sounds in both left and right ears separately and if any problem is found contact ENT specialists within two days. If proper treatment is not taken then it can lead to serious issues.
Hence, it is advised to follow expert advice by taking proper precautions and get timely treatment from doctors. This will enable timely detection of the problem and rectify the issues leading hearing impairments.