While it is sheer joy for a parent to see his/her child respond to questions and discussions, some children may not be able to do so, as they cannot hear what the parent is saying or asking. This condition of hearing loss can be either seen at birth (congenital) or it may develop after a few years (acquired). While it is difficult identifying hearing loss before 6 months of age, earlier detection can be extremely helpful in terms of improving the prognosis. Though not common, congenital hearing loss affects about 1.4 per 1000 births, while acquired loss affects about 5 per 1000 births.
Signs to identify hearing loss:
Before proceeding to treatment, the first step is to confirm hearing loss. A thorough physical exam and audiogram can help identify the reason for the hearing loss, so treatment can be planned accordingly.
In some children, severe wax buildup and middle ear infections can also cause hearing loss. All it requires is clearing of wax and a course of infection treatment to restore hearing. With medical advances, tests which are painless and non-invasive can be done in children as young as 6 months to confirm hearing loss.
Confirmation of hearing loss, is done by audiologist & speech language pathologist who are specialized in dealing with hearing and speech related problems and their management. So, its always advised to follow the specialist.
Ear discharge may occur due to several reasons. Injury or trauma to the ear canal, a ruptured ear drum or an infection in the middle ear may be the most common causes of ear discharge. Eczema, swimmer’s ear and other skin irritations may also lead to this problem. While there are some simple home remedies to treat this disorder, always consult an ENT specialist if the discharge does not stop after the application of those treatments.
Let us look at some common ways to treat this disorder.
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:
Related Tip: Why Do You Get an EAR Discharge?
While most noise is just in the background for us, loud noises, either in small spurts or prolonged exposure, can cause hearing loss. This has been happening more frequently as the levels of noise in an industrialized society go further up.
Noise induced hearing loss explained
Loud noises may damage the sensitive structure of your ear, which process the sound waves into information. They eventually become nonfunctional, resulting in a loss of hearing in that range. If exposure to loud noises continues, then this might extend to the entire range of hearing and may cause total hearing loss.
What may cause noise induced hearing loss?
Some of the scenarios which may cause noise induced hearing loss are as follows:
1. Listening to music on high volume: If you constantly listen to music or watch movies at your home on very loud levels, then it may result in noise induced hearing loss. In fact, listening to music or watching movies with headphones in your ears is one of the leading causes for hearing loss. Headphones have deceptively loud levels and may result in damaged hearing overtime.
2. Noise of household tools: Household tools such as drills, mixers, grinders, mowers, and saws can expose you to loud levels of noise. Even a quick exposure for a few seconds could temporarily damage your hearing.
3. Occupational problems: Occupations such as construction, factory work and military that require the use of power tools on a constant basis can also cause hearing loss. The sound from the resulting friction might damage your hearing very quickly. Explosions and impacts are also causes of hearing loss in the military and law enforcement departments.
Prevention and treatment
Treatment: It is difficult to treat hearing loss as in most cases; it may be permanent, except sudden shocks, when your hearing might come back to normal. The only treatments for hearing loss are hearing aids or cochlear implants which can restore hearing partially.
Prevention: Prevention is the best method to avoid hearing loss and in most cases, you should wear ear protection such as mufflers or sound level reduction devices to protect your hearing. Also, practice listening to music, watching TV or movies at lower levels, especially if you are on the headphones. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!