Since 1992 the UN is celebrating the International Day of People with Disabilities (December 3). It is found in the world with differing amounts of effectiveness. Formance with the Day is intended to foster an awareness of handicap problems and mobilise promotion of the dignity, rights and goodwill of disabled people. It is also aimed at increasing consciousness of gains arising from the participation of disabled people in all facets of national, educational, economic and cultural life.
Did you know your earphones are making you deaf? Here's how.
Fact: Roughly 1.1 billion people worldwide within the age group of 12-35 have been found to be at an increased risk of developing hearing problems.
Listening to loud music on handheld devices using earphones has become a common trend among youngsters these days. You might find it very relaxing to plug in your earphones and escape into your own world of music, but you need to know that this can cause serious damage to your ears. The worst part: you won't realise your ears are being damaged until it's too late.
So, exactly how is loud music damaging your ears?
Continuous exposure to loud music from earphones or other sources results in a medical condition known as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), which can be associated with irreversible damage to the ears resulting in deafness.
When you hear loud music for a considerable amount of time every day it affects your hair cells (nerve cells responsible for sending sound signals to the brain) negatively, so that their ability to respond to sound decreases. If this keeps on happening for many months, eventually the hair cells are damaged beyond repair. These cells cannot be regenerated, making you permanently deaf.
How loud is too loud?
If your ears are exposed to sounds at 95, 100, 105, 110 and 115 dB (decibel, the unit used for measuring sound) for 4 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour, 30 minutes and 15 minutes each day respectively, your ears are at risk of getting severely damaged. Also, playing music at 120 dB or above can damage your ears instantly. You can have a realistic idea about the relation between decibels and sounds you commonly hear by referring to this list:
Moreover, if you experience the following symptoms regularly, there's a high chance that you need to get your ears treated soon:
Tips For Safer Listening
27th September 2020 is World Deaf Day, and this day is celebrated every year to inform and educate the general public, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and even family members of patients with hearing loss about the multiple implications of deafness. Awareness is also spread about the ways in which hearing can be corrected or aided. Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are suitable for varying degrees of deafness, and they can be used with any cochlear implant or hearing aid. The most common ALDs are—
Hearing Loop Systems - This system includes four parts—a sound source, an amplifier, a loop of wire branching out in the room, and a receiver that is worn as a headset or placed near the ear. Electromagnetic fields are used by the loops for delivering sound and the receiver picks up this sound directly. Alternately known as induction loop system, this ALD can be connected with a television set, an audio source, and even with public address systems. With a portable loop system, hearing loss may be alleviated for those who wish to be active in different listening environments.
Infrared Systems - Utilizing infrared light for transmission of sound, these ALDs convert sound into light signals following which, a beam is sent to the receiver worn by the listener. This infrared signal is then decoded back to sound by the receiver. Since these signals don’t pass through walls, Infrared Systems are especially convenient in places where the problem of competing signals might make hearing difficult. A shortcoming of this system, however, is that it cannot be used in places that have excess and multiple light sources.
FM Systems - These ALDs use radio signals for transmitting sounds and amplifying them as well. In classroom settings, FM systems are used wherein the instructor may wear a small microphone that is linked to a transmitter, and students who wear receivers set to the requisite channel or frequency can pick up the signals. FM systems are capable of transmitting signals up to nearly 300 feet, owing to which they can be used with ease in public places as well.
Alerting Devices - Listening devices such as doorbell alerts with flashing lights, vibrating alarm clocks, smoke detectors that flash and vibrate, etc. help to make your environment safer, especially when you choose not to wear hearing aids.
Adapting to an ALD can be life-changing for people with hearing impediments. Choice of ALDs is generally contingent on one’s specific requirements.
While deafness as a disease is often treated with stigma in society, it has to be detected early in order to prevent excessive damage. For this, one must acquaint oneself with the early signs of hearing loss:
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Damage to hair cells found in the nerve pathways of the inner ear causes this type of deafness, and the impairment manifests itself in symptoms that may become severe over time:
discomfort when exposed to loud sounds
difficulty receiving both high and low pitched noise
one ear may function better than the other
loss of clarity in deciphering speech
Do Your Ears Feel “Clogged”?
Resulting in the reception of sound in a muffled and unclear manner, a build-up of fluid or wax can lead to this symptom. Consider getting your ears cleaned. If the problem still persists, you may have to go for a hearing test.
You are Unconsciously Reading People’s Lips!
You must see a doctor immediately if you find yourself avoiding eye-contact with people, but struggling to follow their lips in order to understand what they are saying. The brain’s default function is to employ one sense (eyesight) more than the other (hearing) when the latter is unable to function properly. When you try to “see” sounds because you cannot hear them, it is likely that your hearing loss has become quite severe.
Inability to Comprehend High-Pitched Sounds
The cells in the inner ear that facilitate comprehension of high-pitched sounds deteriorate with age, making it difficult to understand anyone speaking in a high-pitch. Symptoms manifest in one’s inability to hear beeping and chirping noises or the speech of children and women.
Symptoms of “Cookie-Bite” Deafness
Characterized by difficulty in hearing mid-range frequency noises, a person suffering from “cookie-bite” loss of hearing may experience problems in hearing common everyday sounds (talking, listening to music, etc.), but they can understand high-frequency sounds easily.
Remember that even slight problems in hearing may have serious consequences. Consult your doctor at the earliest to prevent any lasting damage to your ears!
The most common assumption about deafness is that is it irreversible, this is hardly true at all times. Hearing loss can be amended and alleviated in many instances, and even be restored with medical and surgical intervention. Here are the most common ways by which one may restore lost hearing—
Cochlear Implants - Possibly the most popular method of restoring hearing, cochlear implants are responsible for the direct stimulation of the auditory nerve in cases where parts of the auditory system are damaged. Their high rate of effectiveness makes them a common choice for patients with partial or severe deafness.
Pressure Equilization (PE) Tubes - Commonly referred to as Middle Ear Tubes, this minor surgical procedure usually takes little time and resources. Since this procedure is mostly adopted in instances of ear infections or to remedy fluid accumulation by releasing the build-up of pressure behind the eardrum, PE Tubes can reverse temporary deafness only.
Bone-Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHAs) - BAHAs are devices, which are surgically implanted behind the ear where the mastoid bone is located. Another device—like a hearing aid—is later fit over the patient’s bone implant. People with problems in the ear canal or the outer ear, as well as those who have lost their hearing in one ear usually opt for BAHAs. The device system works by converting sound to vibrations and these vibrations are received in the inner ear to stimulate sound waves that are enhanced by the implant.
Antibiotic and Antifungal Medications - Medications can help restore partial deafness, but they work only when hearing loss is of a temporary nature, and is a product of excessive wax or fluid build-ups. Doctors prescribe medications to treat discomfiture from chronic middle fluid and ear infections. Hearing loss is generally restored after the medication has worked successfully. However, in some cases like tumour formations, surgery might be inevitable for restoring lost hearing.
Stapedectomy - In this surgical method, conductive hearing loss is corrected by replacing the middle ear’s innermost bone—generally called “staples”—with a prosthesis. Only specific medical conditions relating to deafness can be corrected by this measure, and one needs to undergo a series of tests before opting for surgery.
Don’t let hearing loss intimidate you; seek help when there’s still time!
Don’t let hearing loss limit you.” Recent advancements in technology and medicine have ensured that hearing loss is no longer a hurdle for those who wish to live life to the fullest. Stapedectomy is one such remedial procedure that has proven to amend deafness in cases where the patient’s condition is rather severe and traditional hearing aids have proven to be of little help.
What is Stapedectomy?
The “Stapedectomy” procedure derives its name from the bone located in the middle ear called “staples” or stirrup. The surgical process involves making an incision in the ear canal’s skin following which the eardrum and incised skin are lifted to reach the staples bone. A laser is sometimes used for the purpose of destroying parts of the staples bone, following which, the remnant pieces are removed.
The surgery ends with the removal of the staples bone and replacing it with a prosthesis. Once the device fits in the ear, an ointment plug or cotton may be lightly stuffed in the ear canal to ensure that the eardrum is in place. The packing also protects the prosthesis and prevents it from being dislocated until it is set.
When is it Recommended?
Stapedectomy is primarily recommended to patients who are suffering from acute otosclerosis—a condition that is sometimes inherited and is the product of abnormal remodelling of the staples in the middle ear. This impediment prevents sound from travelling through the ear since the bone can no longer vibrate and facilitate the hearing process. As a consequence, hearing is impaired.
Not everyone, however, is required to undergo this procedure to revive their hearing. Patients are required to undergo ear examinations and audiometric tests, and their responsiveness to a hearing aid is also taken into account following which the doctor decides the appropriateness of this surgery.
Moreover, postoperative factors are also assessed in order to determine the suitability of the procedure for patients who may have underlying conditions that might be affected by potential risks rising from an unsuccessful surgery. These risks involve complete deafness, development of tinnitus, facial paralysis, and temporary problems like dizziness and loss of taste.
Hearing is restored with Stapedectomy in 90% cases, and most potential risks are eliminated when the process is carried out by an experienced surgeon.
This year’s World Deaf Day—set to be celebrated on 27th September—urges people to practice its message of living beyond fear, as is articulated in its motto: “Hearing for life.
World Deaf Day will be celebrated on 27th September this year, and like every year, numerous sensitization programmes will be organized by individuals and institutions to educate people about the implications of hearing loss. World Deaf Day is celebrated every year in the month of September to celebrate the memory of renowned artist and landscape painter Richard Seymour Redmond who lost his hearing abilities after a bout of scarlet fever at three years of age. Despite this impediment, he went on to create a life for himself that serves as a continuing testament to his incredible willpower, perseverance, and talent.
While hearing loss tends to be mostly irreversible, one can prevent and alleviate the degree of loss in numerous ways, owing largely to recent developments in medicine and technology. Before looking into options, it is best to familiarize oneself with the most common reasons behind hearing loss:
Exposure to Loud Noise - Although easily undermined by most people, it has been proven that constant exposure to very loud noises can permanently damage hearing. Since the loss happens gradually over time, patients tend to remain in the dark about their ongoing impediment until it’s too late.
Taking Medications that are Ototoxic - While this often comes as a surprise, there are in fact numerous medications that can negatively affect your hearing capacity, the most common ones being-
aspirin (in large dosages)
drugs used in chemotherapy
Consult your doctor for possible side effects when medications are prescribed to you.
Ménière's disease - Usually affecting those between 30-40 years of age, the reason behind Ménière's disease is yet to be known. Frequently characterized by sensorineural hearing loss, this inner ear disease leads to dizziness, sensitivity to very loud noises, and a perpetual ringing sensation in the ear.
Presbycusis - Another kind of sensorineural hearing loss, Presbycusis develops with age and worsens when left untreated for long. Patients might find it difficult to comprehend the speech of other people since sound reaches them in an unclear and stifled manner.
Tumours or Bone Growth - Manifesting themselves as general ear infections, anomalous bone growths and tumours may develop inconspicuously in the middle or outer ear and can cause severe loss of hearing when left untreated. Bony growths, however, can be effectively resolved with surgery.
Hereditary Reasons - Genetic makeup plays a vital role in determining one’s hearing ability, although people may not necessarily be born with hearing impediments. Deafness may be accompanied by deteriorating eyesight when it has a late onset, as is the case with Usher’s Syndrome, a problem that has largely genetic roots.
Wax Build-Up - When the ear canal is obstructed with excess wax, sound cannot reach the eardrum. This is the most easily remedied form of hearing loss.
This World Deaf Day, do your best to spread awareness for preventing hearing loss!
Visit an ENT specialist to get the ear check-up done and find out the common causes like wax, drum perforation, sensorineural hearing loss, unsafe csom, otosclerosis etc. Timely intervention can restore hearing to a large extent and cure the underlying disease.
Diabetes occurs when blood glucose or blood sugar is too high. There are three kinds of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a type of diabetes where the body produces no insulin or very little insulin and a patient needs daily insulin injections in order to maintain healthy levels of glucose. Type 2 diabetes is more usual in adults. This type of diabetes produces insulin but does not get utilised in the body. Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that has high blood glucose at the time of pregnancy and generally disappears after pregnancy. It might develop the risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.
Diabetes and Ears
It is very usual to develop the risk of hearing loss along with diabetes. It happens due to high levels of blood glucose which causes damage to the inner ear. The hair cells in the inner ear do not regenerate noise without a good blood supply that eventually causes sensorineural hearing loss. To prevent damage of ear, regular exercise and a proper diet are suggested to the diabetic patient in order to improve blood circulation in the ear region.
Diabetes and Nose
Regarding the nose, the main complaints of patients are hyposmia, xeromycteria and several degrees of decreased nose’s patency. Septal perforation, alar necrosis, ulceration of nasal mucosa and chronic atrophic rhinitis are the symptoms of fungal infection or staphylococcal that can be found at the time of otolaryngologic examination. The treatment involves focal therapy with the help of a solution that moistens the nasal mucosa.
Diabetes and Throat
Diabetes can disturb the tract of the gastrointestinal (GI) region. The GI tract is responsible for digestion, ingestion, elimination of unwanted waste products, and the absorption of food. It includes the mouth, throat, intestines, and stomach. When diabetes affects the GI tract, the patient may experience a sore throat. Gastrointestinal problems can cause the levels of blood glucose to fluctuate even if the patient follows exercise, diet, and therapeutic regimens consistently. Though there are different kinds of therapies to treat GI related problems, it is very important to get the levels of blood glucose under control.
When the levels of blood glucose are too high, diabetes occurs. It is very common to develop infections in the ears, nose, and throat in diabetes. In order to prevent them from infections, it is extremely important to get the levels of blood glucose under control as poor blood glucose levels can worsen the condition of the patient’s nose, ear, and throat.
The body has its own protective mechanisms, and one of these is the ear wax. The skin in the ear produces an oily, waxy substance known as cerumen. This is produced to help protect the ear from the dust and the microorganisms that it is constantly subjected to. What happens is this earwax is naturally removed from the ear as it gets washed away through the ear canal that opens to the outside. However, in some cases, where there is excessive production of wax, it can harden and cause a blockage. Read on to know more about how this ear wax builds up, how it may cause blockage, and how to get rid of it.
Buildup: As noted, the ear wax is a natural protective mechanism to keep dust and bacteria from entering the ear canal which is a very critical organ. The middle ear is responsible for maintaining overall body balance. However, in some people, more wax is produced than what gets removed. Also, due to the recurrent use of earphones and earbuds, the wax can get pushed deeper. The earphones also could block the wax from getting out of the ear canal.
Excessive ear wax can lead to the following:
It is important to know that trying to remove ear wax at home should be avoided, as they can push the wax internally and cause more severe problems. These above symptoms could be indicative of various other problems in the ear and so should be immediately attended to by a medical doctor. Those who use hearing aids may also face the problem of excessive wax buildup.
Removal: As mentioned above, removal should not be done at home. This is true especially for young children and the elderly.
As the next step, clinical removal may be required. Those who are prone to excessive wax buildup may go for an annual or biannual wax removal. This could include irrigation and use of suction or curette to remove the wax. Ear wax, though not very pleasant, has a role to play in the ear’s health and small amounts of it is beneficial.
Ear problems can strike any individual of any age, and be very troublesome. It can even impair normal life. However, children are especially vulnerable to these and all diseases because their immune systems have not developed to full strength yet. There are several kinds of ear diseases that may affect children.
Which is the most common type of ear ailment that affects children?
The human ear has three parts: the inside, the middle and the outside. Children are most prone to acquiring diseases of the middle ear that can impede their hearing temporarily or permanently. The liquid is accumulated in this part of the ear in affected children. Along with mild deafness, related trouble like a pain in the ear may also be caused. Antibiotics are the most common treatment in these cases.
Symptoms: What gives away hidden ear disease in children?
Ear diseases are difficult to detect in children, as the middle ear is not visible with the naked eye, and children most often do not complain of pain there. These symptoms are helpful in detecting if there really is a problem-
• Pain in the ears
• The pain inside the head
• Liquid coming out of the ear
• Losing the will to eat
• Difficulty hearing
The most common childhood hearing ailments-
Following are the (hidden) ear diseases that affect the most number of infants and children-
• Acute otitis media - This is a severe infection of the middle ear, causing pain and irritation there. Fluid discharges are also common. The child should be taken to visit an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist. They will treat her/him with antibiotics, as the underlying cause is mostly bacteria.
• Otitis media with effusion - This occurs after an ear infection is generally over, and the child does not feel any discomfort. However, the doctor senses fluid build up and infections still present in the ear. This condition mostly heals on its own.
• Congenital hearing loss - The child may have been born with hearing loss. This happens if congenital hearing loss runs in the family, or if the mother had major diseases like diabetes. Another possibility of hearing loss is that the baby may have been born with disorders of the brain or the nervous system.
• Acquired hearing loss - The child may develop hearing loss in her/his lifetime due to reasons like chicken pox, influenza or serious damage to the head.
Hearing loss or ear diseases are somewhat common across age and generations of people, but they also can hinder your normal functioning. If you suspect your child has one, you should take her/him to a specialist immediately and try to test if she/he has any of the above disorders.